A frequently asked question if not the most asked question I get is, “What can I feed my worms?!” So I have decided to come up with a basic list of what you can feed your worms. I will also include a list of things to keep out of the worm bin.
Things to feed your worms include:
- Squash and Pumpkin
- Tea Bags
- Lawn Clippings (aged, fresh clippings may heat up and kill the worms)
- Animal Manure (not dog or cat)
Here is a very basic list of what to not put in the worm bin:
- Salty Foods
- Spicy Foods
- Foods with preservatives
There are a few other things to keep in mind when feeding your worms.
- The smaller the matter the easier and faster for the worms to compost. Chopping large chunks of food to feed worms is recommended but not necessary. You can puree, freeze, or microwave food scraps before adding them to your worm composter to help break down material. Make sure that food has returned to room temperature before adding it to your worm bin.
- Try to keep a balance of browns and greens. Browns and greens are nicknames for different types of organic matter to use in composting. Browns are high in carbon or carbohydrates, thus they are organic carbon sources. These foods supply the energy that most soil organisms need to survive. Carbons also help absorb the offensive odors and capture and help prevent most of the organic nitrogen in the piles from escaping by evaporation or leaching. Carbons are also essential in the faster formation of humus from the organic matter in a composting process. Greens are high in nitrogen or protein, thus organic nitrogen sources. These products help the composting microherd to grow, breed, and multiply fast in the piles, thus creating extreme internal temperatures in hot compost piles. A simple test to determine if your organic matter is a “green” or a “brown”, is to wet it, and wait a few days. If it stinks, it is definitely a green. If not, it’s a brown.
- The amount and frequency of food you will want to feed your worms is also a factor you need to consider. This will depend on the amount of worms you have in your worm bin. Keep in mind a worm will eat its own body weight in waste a day. So, if you have 1 pound of worms in your bin or composter you can technically feed them up to 1 pound of waste a day. To be on the safe side, however, I would stick to feeding every other or every 3 days. You do not want to overwhelm the bin. This will lead to attracting unwanted pests and odors.
Overall, worms will benefit from a balanced diet. Maintain the proper moisture, PH level and diet and your worms will be good to go! Happy vermicomposting!