Pizza crust (without the cheese) Pasta (no butter sauce) Rice (brown or white, long or short grain) Bread (whole wheat, sourdough or whatever you like) Pancakes (or waffles without the whipped butter or cream) Of course, red wigglers also enjoy materials not in a healthy human diet.
So, in order to help you out we have decided to offer this infographic in physical form. 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. Select CategoryAquaponics (1)Benefits of Composting (41)chickens (1)Compost (200)Fishing (15)General (32)Heirloom Seeds (2)Indoor Composters (133)Live Worms (146)Meal worms (23)Night Crawlers (29)Outdoor Composters (127)Pet Food (1)rabbits (5) Red Worms (170)Supplies (13)UP University (5)Uncategorized (5)Vermicomposting (67)Verminous (3)Work Factory (5)Worm Kits (13)Worm Tea (4) When you’re breeding earthworms, it’s not enough that you provide them a nice and comfortable bin to thrive in.
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).
That’s a pretty good incentive to buy fruits and vegetables more often. If your eating habits include more processed food than organic food, then you may find some difficulty in coming up with enough organic matter to feed your red worms.
This isn’t to say that people should avoid meats or dairy, or yummy desserts for that matter, but worms love organic food scraps, so it’s always good to have a little on hand, and most people do. The more fresh fruits and veggies scraps you’re able to feed your worms, the better.
Otherwise, your worms will have to settle for a steady diet of coffee grounds, dead flowers, newspaper and cardboard. Worms live in a condensed, confined area, so it’s important to keep their environment free of certain types of food that they don’t like to eat or can harm them.
For instance, the pH levels of the bin cannot become too acidic, or it will harm the worms. Also, worms must breathe through their skin and certain types of food will irritate that process.
Other foods will stink up real bad when thrown into a composter and that can attract rats and other vermin. Worms can convert kitchen and yard waste into compost rich in the nitrogen, potash and phosphates that plants need to grow.
Worms eat organic material including dead leaves, lawn clippings, fruits, vegetables and fungi such as mushrooms. 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.
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.
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Thankfully, fellow ‘worm head’ Dwayne C. has helped to get things back on track with this cool photo of mushrooms growing in his worm bin. It has even had me wondering if one could grow edible mushrooms in some sort of worm composting system.
I remember reading an article in the print version of Worm Digest (published a number of years ago) describing how the author had put a gourmet mushroom kit in her worm system and ended up being able to harvest mushrooms for several months. Your chances of seeing actual mushrooms (the fruiting bodies of certain groups of fungi) are much greater in outdoor systems (for obvious reasons) and can be closely linked to the type of material you have in your bin.
Having lots of carbon-rich bedding materials in your bin can also encourage fungal growth. They are worms whose existence is dedicated to eating leftover food, such as discarded vegetables or fruit.
You’ll see them disappearing around the third week either dying out or escaping their bin if they are left without a food source. They do their best when left alone in a dark bin with an adequate food supply and moisture.
Of course, putting fresh scraps of food into your worm’s home will extend the time that they can be left unattended. This isn’t limited to just fruits and veggies but scraps of cardboard or coffee grounds too.
Browns include things like the coffee beans, cardboard, paper, or dry leaves. Worms need gritty brown food to help move their digestion along.
Worms need a pH of 6.0-7.0; if you find yours is too high, crushed eggshells will help to bring that acid back down. (Check our recommended composting resources page to see a pH meter that you can use for monitoring).
It helps your plants grow and increases the activity of microbes in your soil. When used on a large scale, it helps our world’s environment because they replace chemical fertilizers.
I know it seems really like a simple answer, but these worms are alive just like you and me, and if they’re going to help your soil they aren’t working for free. They aren’t too picky, though, and feeding them is pretty easy when you’re preparing dinner and have some scraps of vegetable leftover.
By regularly feeding your red wigglers, you are giving them the opportunity to not only survive but to thrive. Red wigglers don’t need much attending to but when you know you are going to be leaving on a trip it can be helpful to make sure your worms are prepared too.
The worms can drown and won’t be able to effectively work through the bedding if it becomes too saturated and compressed. Be sure to monitor your reservoir under the bin to ensure the worm farm is producing liquid.
If they aren’t, and they are getting slimy or starting to smell, lessen the amount added each time. Too little food can result in having a lot of small worms that aren’t growing well but too much, and you run the risk of some really unpleasant odors.
As you add more fruit and vegetable scraps you will be increasing the nitrogen levels in the bin. Worms don’t have teeth, so they grind the food you give them in something called a gizzard.
This is where the brown foods come to help that digestion process go smoother so those shredded cardboard and paper products in the bedding really are important! If you feed them too much, the worms won’t be able to eat it in time, and it will rot and mold and smell awful.
Keep in mind, as you feed them your leftover fruits and food, that they are also eating their bedding, so don’t overdo it while trying to learn how much they can consume. If it’s dry and the worms aren’t eating, they can ball up to conserve their moisture in their bodies.