Brown cardboard newspaper debate for feeding earthworms and composting, Glue or soaks up other organic stuff, Leaves better?
I have been using leaves but am intrigued by all of the feedback on using paper products, especially brown cardboard.
From Red Worm Composting.
“Why Do Red Worms Love Brown Cardboard?”
“Over the last few months two things have contrived to make me
ask “why do worms love plain brown cardboard”?
1. I have two 1M cubed compost bins. I recently emptied (bar a few
worms) one and started a new one. I had it about two feet deep with
fresh garden waste, a few buckets of kitchen waste.
2. I happened to have a few items delivered in plain brown card, as
per Amazon books? Nothing special, just brown card. Soak it in water,
pull it apart and leave it for the worms.
Result? My garden compost is magically turned into fantastic
What is it about cardboard that makes them start chomping? An old
‘yellow pages’ book didn’t go down half so well. Yet there is no sign
of the plain card?
I’m mystified. I can’t see any food value in it? Roughage?”
““Though the glues in corrugated cardboard are thought to supply a significant protein source, this has not been substantiated”
The article also touches on the fact that high-carbon (and low nitrogen) materials like cardboard can be readily colonized by many species of fungi. Given the fact that most of use (who use cardboard as bedding), are also adding other “food” materials (typically with higher nitrogen content), it becomes a bit easier to see how the worms might find the cardboard as appealing as they do. It soaks up juices from the rotting food waste etc, and undoubtedly develops a pretty substantial microbial population as a result.”
Read more including comments:
From Gardens Alive.
- “Most importantly, there is little to no nutrition left in processed paper, and it won’t add much—if any—fertilizing or disease-preventing power to the finished product. That’s why I’m always yelling at allayouse to collect and shred massive amounts of fall leaves; shredded leaves make the finest disease-preventing, soil-enhancing, plant-feeding compost. If you have a compost pile where the predominant “brown materials” are paper instead of leaves, you are creating the equivalent of a heavily-processed artificial fast food for your plants. Compost made with shredded leaves is minimally processed, high quality slow food—and it’s local too!”