“I am experimenting with recycled newspaper sludge from work as bedding/feed. The worms seem to be happy in it, but the green food seems to take a long time to break down. Chunks of lettuce are still crisp after three weeks. Is there any way to speed up how fast food breaks down?” ~ Justin Houghtelling
One excellent tip contributed by Bill of Nevada, is to freeze all food scraps in the freezer for a period of time and then allow them to thaw before adding to the worm bed. Bill mentions…
“By the way, I put all of my scraps in the deep freeze for a couple of weeks and then thoroughly defrost them prior to feeding. This starts the breakdown of the cellular structure and hastens the composting process. Worms, after all, have no teeth, so their food has to be good and sloppy before they can slurp it up.”
…he continues on to say…
“When I take the “fresh” scraps out of the freezer they are quite soft and soupy. I pour the liquid from the plastic bags right into the bin also. Using this method my bin remains quite moist, without adding any other liquid.”
Thanks to Bill here.
This is something you might also like to try Justin.
Alternatively if you don’t want to use space in your deep freeze you could mulch any large green matter (such as the lettuce leaves) before adding it to the bin. A simple food processor will do the Job and a couple of pulses are all it takes.
Breaking up the larger leaves into many small pieces in such a way allows for a greater volume of surface area to be exposed and will again speed up decomposition. You can also bury the material just under the surface of the bedding to speed the process up further still.
Of course, you could also simply break the material up by hand before adding to the bed using a basic ripping method, but the smaller the pieces of material, the faster they will decompose and become utilized by the composting worms.