You’ll just have to feed them decomposing organic wastes, that have been cut or chopped into smaller pieces already; and are then buried under the ground (to sway away from unwanted visits from pests and to also avoid odor build-ups). Only feed them something that has been days old already; and have been produced by vegetable eating animals, like rabbits for example (manure from pets are not as healthy especially for worm consumption).
The acid content will definitely aid in lowering the pH level of the worm bin. Raw eggshells with some egg white’s still stuck inside (it’s best to clean these before using them for your worms, as these may carry diseases that can harm your compost pals).
Make it a point to take in these considerations on what to feed red wigglers, before you put in any kind of organic waste inside their bin. For this month’s blog post, we decided to do something a little different.
We put our heads together here at The Squirm Firm, and we’ve come up with this amazing infographic to help you answer the question, “What cared wiggler worms eat?” Their diet consists mostly of vegetables and fruits, no meat, dairy or anything greasy.
Of course, red wigglers also enjoy materials not in a healthy human diet. These items include shredded newspapers, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags (without the staple), and paper egg cartons.
You want to make sure you are feeding your worms a nutritious diet, but you don’t have the time to go research online. If you found this infographic useful, and would like more great worm composting tips, tricks, and how-to’s, sign up for our newsletter using the bar at the top of this page.
We’ve tried a bunch of foods in our bins at home and have a nice list for you to keep things simple. Vegetable scraps: apple cores, peels, carrot tops and wilted lettuce or trimmings.
Non-citrus fruit work best, such as watermelon rind, strawberry tops, old blueberries, etc. Drastically limit citrus or eliminate all together to avoid fruit flies and to keep the bin clean smelling and easy to work with.
Onions Spicy peppers Twigs Meat Daily Oily foods Plastic Metal Glass Animal feces FINICKY EATERS: If after a week you notice food hasn’t been touched, they may not be too fond of it.
EASY TO PLEASE: If they are happy with the food, temperature and moisture level, they will stay put in the bin even with the top off! SPOIL ‘EM ROTTEN: If you really want to make brats out of your worms, chop up their food.
Your bin may be completed in record time by making it easier for the worms to break down the scraps. You can also store chopped up food in the frig until ready to feed if you end up with extra.
PUT THAT FOOD TO BED: Because we keep our worms inside our garage, it’s important to us that the bin not call fruit flies, mice or get over-run with ants. Folks that dump food on top increase the chance of fruit flies or yukky smells. The best method is to make layers of food and bedding with a big layer of bedding on top.
We make our own fertilizers and have info on this site and more comprehensive e-book with tons of great recipes. I decided to go on a quest and compile the most comprehensive list that I could have food items they will not (or should not) eat.
After all, composting worms are well-known for eating a wide variety of different foods, even some that people wouldn’t traditionally consider edible. Citrus rinds have strong aromatic oils that worms don’t like (they breathe through the surface of their skin), and even when they are broken up into very small pieces, they still take forever to decompose.
Since they do not decompose easily and worms won’t readily eat them, these peels are better suited for other practical purposes around the home and garden. This is not just because worms don’t like it and won’t eat it, but also because rotting meat in the compost bin smells repulsive and tends to attract unwanted pests like flies and rats.
Composting worms can ’t properly break down and process oils or other kinds of fat. Because worms won’t eat oily foods, they’ll just sit in the bin and rot.
Not only are these preservative chemicals potentially dangerous to composting worms, but your red wigglers will generally avoid them. You can expect any processed food to be left in the bin to rot rather than being eaten up by your worms.
Cake Baked goods Cooked foods that have had butter or other fats added for flavoring Most people invest in a worm bin as part of a gardening adventure or in an effort to eat and consume more thoughtfully, so if you’re bummed out about the prospect of not being able to compost your processed foods, think of it as an excuse to buy whole organic foods instead.
Imagine having to breathe a vapor of the same substance that causes you to tear up whenever you chop an onion, and that’s a pretty good idea of how albums are irritating to composting worms. An additional drawback to albums in the composting bin is that they tend to stink a lot more than they break down compared to other fruits and vegetables.
Like citrus rinds, bread tends to mold quickly when introduced to a compost bin, and this can lead to the introduction of mold that may or may not damage the ecosystem of the compost bin and the worms living inside it. This will help the bread become mushy and break down into the soil before it has a chance to grow airborne mold.
Composting worms can only eat and absorb food that is in a very small, very soft state, which means that you can ’t just throw large dry leaves of old cabbage or some other starchy food into the compost bin and expect the worms to be able to process it quickly or efficiently. If you place food in the compost bin in pieces that are too big, it will often begin to rot before the worms have a chance to eat it.
This means that regardless of what kind of organic fruits and vegetables and grains you put in your worm bin, they need to be broken down into small pieces. Now, in all fairness, if you drop a large vegetable into your bin, it will slowly decompose and as it does, the worms will feed on the parts that are breaking down.
You leave a Tupperware full of salad in the back of the fridge by accident until it’s growing a new life form, or one of the potatoes in your brand-new sack is mushy and leaking something that smells vile. If the food has already begun to rot in the open air without soil exposure, it’s probably not a great idea to throw it in the worm bin even if it’s organic.
This is because fresh manure is very high in nitrogen, which can actually have a detrimental effect on your composting worms. This short YouTube video outlines the cautions to take when feeding your worms cow manure.
While we’re on the subject of animal droppings, dog and cat feces from your household pets are also not a good option for a worm bin. Not only is there the same pathogen risk that there is with adding dog feces to a worm bin, but there is also the introduced factor of potential biohazards involved.
Paper acts as good bedding for the worms until it finally breaks down, at which point it becomes viable food. Even if it does manage to break down a little, the plastic coating on this type of paper renders is inedible for the worms.
Sawdust from a workshop would be fine too so long as you are working with raw woods, not treated. As long as you don’t introduce unwanted weeds or pesticides to the worm bin, lawn clippings can be a good dry addition to help balance out excess moisture, and a cut of fresh mowed grass can also help improve the worm bin’s smell when it starts to get a little ripe.
One of the benefits of using fresh-cut lawn clipping is that they are still usually pretty wet when their first cut and get powdery when they are given a chance to dry out, so they can be used to either add moisture to the worm bin or detract moisture, depending on which capability you need at the time.