Indoor composting worms gobble up a wide variety of food scraps, as they are active worms that love nibbling on organic waste. But what is the best way to feed them? Which types of foods make the best worm food? How is feeding indoor worms different from feeding outdoor worm populations?
Feed your wigglers well, and you’ll get worm castings, often called “black gold,” – a nutrient-rich fertilizer perfect for enriching the soil and helping your plants grow. You will also reduce trash and virtually eliminate garbage odors inviting those pesky fruit flies and other uninvited guests to the party.
If you’re vermicomposting inside your home, we’ve got some insider scoop, tips, and tricks for feeding composting worms indoors.
Indoor Worm Composting 101: Why Compost Indoors?
Composting inside your house is almost impossible without worms. Composting worms break down kitchen scraps quickly during the food decomposition process, which helps prevent strong odors and pests. On the other hand, hot composting without any worms takes too long inside the home. Adding a bag of Red Wiggler Worms to a suitable indoor composter will make the scraps disappear in no time!
People compost indoors for several reasons. Some are apartment or city dwellers who do not have outdoor space for the composting process. Others want convenient access to their composting bin. And some simply want to run their composting efforts year-round, even when the weather is cold. In that case, they may move their outdoor bin indoors during the colder seasons or keep their compost bin indoors all the time.
However, although it’s an enjoyable method of vermicomposting, indoor composting requires a bit more care than outdoor worm composting. And it all starts in the kitchen, where you prepare worm food from your food scraps.
What Do Worms Eat? Type of Food Scraps to Feed Your Indoor Composting Worms (And Which to Avoid)
Preparing food from scratch inevitably results in waste. We cannot digest raw carrot tops, broccoli stems, potato peels, and banana skins. Old food will spoil, increasing the chances of fruit flies lingering around. Leftovers can fill up the fridge. Finicky eaters, illness, and no-shows result in food waste. And if no one likes that new cereal you just got, it has to go! Luckily, compost worms have got your back! They won’t let you waste food – they’ll turn it into nutrient-rich worm castings.
If you are composting outdoors without worms, you might have a “chuck it all in” attitude. Hot composting without worms has more leeway than vermicomposting. Worm populations, however, live in the tiny ecosystem of their bin. And, although they love nibbling on anything from shredded paper, shredded cardboard, and aged manure to coffee grounds, fruit, and vegetable waste, certain food scraps can damage their worm bin environment and make them sick.
So, what should you not feed worms? Avoid feeding compost worms:
- highly-acidic foods and citrus fruit scraps like pineapple, oranges, limes, lemons, and their rinds (although worms love fruit peels, citrus peels are a no-no!)
- large amounts of tomatoes (they are slightly acidic, and worms can tolerate them only in moderate amounts)
- fatty foods, such as meats and oils
- dairy foods and dairy products
- foods with high salt content, such as olives (soak for 1 day, then discard water)
- toxic items, such as pressure-treated sawdust, white office paper, and glossy paper, such as colored newsprint
- non-foods, such as plastic
Discard these items – don’t risk hurting your worms. A lot of foods are fine for outdoor vermicomposting but will stink up an indoor compost container. Bananas and banana peels, broccoli, and veggie waste from the cabbage family are known to smell bad. Reduce composting odors with the right choice of worm food!
Happy Worms, Happy Home: How to Feed Worms Indoors
From brown matter to green waste, these squirmy little creatures are foodie superheroes that will chow down on your kitchen scraps before they go from delicious to disastrous! Ready to unleash the gastronomic prowess of your indoor composting worms?
With our step-by-step guide, they’ll fine dine like royalty!
Preparing Worm Meals at Home
Worms do not have teeth – they suck food into their mouths. Similar to chickens, worms use “grit” in their digestive tracts to help break down food. Therefore, worm food needs to be small, as larger pieces take longer for them to break down. Soft foods are also easier for worms to eat. Therefore, softer organic matter breaks down faster in a worm bin.
Make their meals manageable! If you have time, cut food scraps into small pieces using a kitchen knife. A hand chopper or food processor can speed up the process. Cutting can be done during food preparation or after the meal. Scraps can go straight into the worm bin, or you can store them in plastic storage bins for later and keep them in the refrigerator to prevent premature spoilage and bad odors.
Now, let’s get to the fun part. So, how do you feed compost worms indoors? Scraps added to indoor bins should be buried in the worm bin bedding (around 2 inches deep). This suppresses most odors and makes the food easy for the compost worms to find.
Start in one corner. Dig a small hole in the upper layer of the bedding and add the scraps. Cover with fresh bedding using dry materials. The next day, dig a hole next to the first feeding. Continue to work your way around the bin. By the time you reach the first corner again, the food should be gone – your worms will have gobbled it all up!
Also, keep your eye on indoor temperature and moisture to avoid excess water, especially when feeding them wet food – create drainage holes and add some absorbing, dry bedding materials that also act as a balancing carbon source, such as shredded paper, paper towels, or egg cartons, in your composting container to soak it up and prevent excess moisture levels. In case extra moisture is needed, simply use a spray bottle to sprinkle some around.
And don’t forget to make air holes, too, if you’re using indoor composting bins with lids!
Feeding Schedule: How Much to Feed Indoor Composting Worms
Under ideal conditions, worms can eat about half their weight in a day in organic matter. If you start with 1000 live compost worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, you will have 1 pound of worms. Feed them up to half a pound of food scraps each day. If you have 2 pounds of worms, feed them 1 pound of scraps, and so on.
Master the art of portion control with your wriggly buddies. With a new bin, start with less and work up. If they can’t keep up with your culinary skills and have trouble finishing the food in a week, cut back and feed less. Store the extra food in the fridge or freezer for a worm-tastic treat down the road. Before you know it, you’ll have nutrient-rich finished compost!
Mastering the Art of Feeding Worms Indoors
Unlock the secrets of vermicomposting at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. From expert worm information to a wide range of supplies for all your composting adventures, whether indoor or outdoor, you’ll find whatever you need at your fingertips. Let’s worm our way to success!
Need some vermicomposting muscle? We recommend Red Wiggler Worms for composting. European Night Crawlers, AKA the Super Reds, are the ultimate multi-taskers – from vermicomposting to fishing and garden warriors; they’ve got you covered!
Indoor Worm Feeding Wisdom: Your Burning Questions Answered
How Long Can Compost Worms Go Without Food?
Worms can survive for about 3-4 weeks without a fresh meal. However, let’s not put their gourmet tastes to the test – keep their tummies full and happy for top-notch composting results.
Can You Overfeed Composting Worms?
Yes. Although worms love to eat raw matter, moderation is key. Don’t turn their home into a food buffet all at once, or they’ll struggle to keep up. Too much food can leave them gasping for air and lead to stinky anaerobic decomposition. Knowing how much to feed them is key to happy, healthy, chubby worms.
Do Compost Worms Need Water?
Absolutely! Like any other living organism, they like to stay hydrated, but be careful not to drown them in a soggy mess – maintaining the right amounts of moisture in your indoor worm bin is the way to go!
Do Compost Worms Need Light?
Not really; worms prefer to walk on the dark side of life. They’re not fans of bright lights, so keep their indoor composting bins cozy and shaded for their comfort.