As far as best practices go, potatoes are better thrown into the hot compost pile rather than into the worm bin. Once each month we’ll deliver a little something to turn up your worm composting skill set.
Their diet consists mostly of vegetables and fruits, no meat, dairy or anything greasy. Red wigglers enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
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. 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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One thing you'll note about the worm foods on this list is that most are moist, soft, and/or low in acidity. As a general rule, you should feed worms a mix of equal parts “brown” and “green” foods.
Browns are high in carbon and carbohydrates, while greens add a lot of nitrogen and protein to the soil. Browns may be food or non-food items, such as coffee grounds, paper, egg cartons, or dry leaves.
Fruit peelings (not citrus) Melon rinds Carrots Coffee grounds Teabags Bread Cereal (unsweetened) Pasta (plain) Cucumbers Lettuce Cornmeal Squash And in the case of meats, fats, and grease, these foods attract insects and can stink up a worm bin or garden in short order.
If you're using a bin, make sure to cover the food with bedding to help minimize attention from flies or other critters and to reduce odors. Remember, worms caveat up to half their weight in food each day if they are in a fully established vermicomposter.
By keeping these tips in mind, you'll have a healthy, happy worm bin and better soil for a better garden. Both moldy and rotting compost can be digested and will not hurt the worms to eat.
But to red wigglers, it’s nature’s way of telling the worms that the food is ready to eat. But that doesn’t mean you can toss any moldy and crusty waste onto the compost pile.
To make matters worse, putting the wrong rotting food items in your worm bin can also lead to other issues (source). As previously mentioned, red wigglers are led to their next meal by the tiny sensory cells in their mouths.
If something is rotten, that means it’s already passed the threshold of being a source of nutrition and is beyond human consumption. The red wigglers will bypass this snack and let the sensory cells lead them to something more delicious and nutritious.
This means it’s “anaerobic.” Food that’s completely rotten will have zero oxygen, making it unhealthy and dangerous for the worms. We’ve discussed the fact that molded and rotten food can be eaten by red wigglers.
Let’s get a little more into how too much moldy and rotten food can affect your worms, your compost pile, and beyond. If you’re adding moldy food to your compost pile and noticing that it’s going unbeaten then clearly, it’s not appealing to your worm palettes.
While a healthy worm bin rarely attracts pests, excessive food items can lead to rodent issues, among other problems. While it’s usually perfectly fine to compost rotting fruits and veggies in a traditional compost pile, adding the wrong food items to a worm bin in excess only leads to avoidable issues.
And trust me, cleaning the worm bin isn’t exactly a fun task. But, if you reach this point, watch this short video on how to clean out your vermicompost bin.
A happy and healthy bunch of red wigglers should smell earthy, just like soil. In general, it’s best to avoid pet waste, citrus, meat, fish, and dairy (source).
Rodent Cats Dogs Foxes Raccoons Coyotes Badgers Javelin Aside from the mess they can make, all these animals digging around in your compost pile will cause the pH of the soil to be unbalanced.
Of course, you can reduce many these intruders by maintaining your compost bin indoors but managing the food quantity and selection will still be important to prevent odors and smaller pests that can find their way indoors. An excess of mold in the red wiggler bin isn’t good for your worm family, but it’s especially bad for your own breathing.
We know different animals rooting around in the vermicompost can upset the pH of the soil, leading to an unbalancing of the microbiomes and impeding the composting process. Follow these best practices on what you are adding to your bin to help the ecosystem that your worms live in within balance.
Red wigglers will eat a moderate amount of moldy or rotting food so long as it’s not in excess. Remember that as food decays, it loses its nutritional value and as a result, it will become less attractive to the worms.
They prefer slightly decomposed food, but it can reach a point where it is no longer offers the nutrients they are craving. This occurs most often due to continuously having more food in the bin than the worms can consume.
The simple truth is, vermicomposting is not difficult and can be an enjoyable way of making good use of kitchen waste to create nutrient-rich soil amendments for your lawn, garden, or flower beds.