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What Can I feed my Worms?

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:

  • Fruits
  • VegetablesFood-Waste
  • Paper
  • Squash and Pumpkin
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Tea Bags
  • Grains
  • Hair
  • Lawn Clippings (aged, fresh clippings may heat up and kill the worms)toxic_food1
  • Animal Manure (not dog or cat)

Here is a very basic list of what to not put in the worm bin:

  • Salty Foods
  • Citrus
  • Spicy Foods
  • Oils
  • Foods with preservatives
  • meat
  • dairy

There are a few other things to keep in mind when feeding your worms.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, hohappy wormswever, 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!

36 comments on “What Can I feed my Worms?


    I figured I’d grate the food scraps to help the worm eat the scraps. I generate more food scraps than my worm bin can handle. Is it advisable to use old left over grated food scraps or should I always use freshly grated food scraps? Do you even advise grating the food scraps?

  • I was just wondering is it ok to put dead flowers in the worm bin. I got my wife some roses and carnations with green ferns and was wondering if it is ok to put them in the bin. I have read that you can put leaves and small amount of grass clipping but I am not finding anything on flowers

    • The moisture level of the bedding in your worm bin should be comparable to a wrung-out sponge, that when squeezed emits a drop or two of water. If it is not moist, you may need to add water from time to time to sustain the correct moisture level.

    • James Shaw says:

      Hi Gwen,

      I would not recommend adding these for the reason that you mentioned. These are far too salty for the worms to eat and thrive in. Have a great day!

  • love info on this web site. i rase alot of red worms in michigan. have axess to water melon all year round. where can you buy fumeagated worm feed?

  • I am starting my first full vermiculture bin and and very appreciative of all of the wonderful information that you have provided on your site, thank you

  • Hey there,
    Is it true that worms do not like potato peels, this seems strange to me somehow. Also will they be ok with food scraps that are high in sugar, like my desert leftovers, pastry etc?

  • Thomas Yendell says:

    Well got Rabbit and I started dumping the straw and pellets in the scrub in the yard. I realized that worms are everywhere in it. I’m in the forest of west Virginia..I’m not sure what kind the worms are but they are nice size and fast .Tom

    • Thomas Yendell says:

      Should I leave it just on the ground? It will be snowed on this winter? What do they do in the winter? I don’t ice fish and won’t need them till the spring

  • Hello Team Uncle Jim,

    Kind of a newbie and would like to know if I can feed my night crawlers dry cat food?


  • Moshe Haven says:

    I’m new to this and I think I’m killing my worms off. I got a Worm Farm 360 and started with 1000 red jumpers and about 500 crawlers. I’ve been pureeing the out dated carrots and some greens together with coffee grounds and some egg shells. I’ve worked in a lot of shredded newsprint but the material feels too solid. I added newsprint, a lot, to dry it out and it’s not so wet but I suspect it’s too compact. While I used to see a lot of wriggling near the surface when I occasionally checked it’s now gone down to little action. I thought that pureeing the scraps would make it easier for the worms to eat. I just ordered about 500 African night crawlers to add when they get here in a week. Any suggestions before I kill these off as well?

  • I smoke alot weed sorry please don’t judge I started a worm bin and was wondering if the gutted tabacco from my cigars be food for my worms I know people use coffee grinds and cardboard can i use tabacco

  • I want to test what worms will eat with students. I want to put in some fruit scraps (which it sounds like they will eat) and some jelly beans (which I am hoping they will not eat). Would putting in a jelly bean or two be harmful?

  • Can I feed my worms toilet paper? I think toilet paper is bleached with chemicals and might be harmful to the red wigglers, no?

  • Yes – mold is good! Worms do not have teeth, so the mold helps to break down the food, making it easier for the worms to eat.

  • john grierson says:

    I would be cautious about using flowers in the bin. In Australia, there are no limits on pesticides on commercial flowers. These would not be a good food for worms in a bin.



  • Jane Doyle says:

    I see many good questions. Some are ones that I have a well. It would be very helpful if someone from the company would answer them. Just a line or two would often be enough.

  • Ramona Walker says:

    I have tons of English walnuts I have been hulling. Would it be ok to feed the hulls to the worms? I am concerned about tannins and the Ph level.

    • Hello Romona;

      We do not recommend that you add black walnuts to the vermicompost bin. They create/contain Juglone which is harmful to worms, plants and other insects.

      Uncle Jim’s

  • Jackie W. Cox says:

    Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is a great way to order your worms n get feedback on what to do. They have a phone number and are eager to help with any questions. I recently orderd 1,000 redwiglers n they came in day 3 of shipping. They were so lively that some would try their best to crawl out of my stirophom cooler for 3 days. I just kept flicking them back in n waiting the first day for about 6 hours. They just kept trying even though I had a light shinning directly on them. Thanks Everyone at Uncle Jim’s. Very appreciated. They are the most active at night it seems also after feeding.


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