What should you NOT feed your composting worms? At Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we supply our customers with the finest composting worms. We recommend our quality Red Worms or European Night Crawlers for vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a great way to get rid of organic waste. It’s good for the environment and produces valuable compost for plants. We want to make sure that not only are our customers happy, but also our worms. Healthy worms make for the most effective composting.
In their natural environment, worms have the freedom to move to food sources. Yet, your worms live in enclosed bins in a small space. Whatever you feed them becomes part of their world. They can’t easily escape. They are prone to getting ill if you add foods and items to their diets that they shouldn’t eat.
When you add those foods to the worm bin, your worms suffer. For example, rancid fats and oils produce horrible odors. Oils attract unwanted pests. Always check for ingredients to make sure you don’t add these items to the bin. And throw out in trash receptacles food doused in oil, greasy sauces, and butter.
We need to make sure that you know what is bad for your worms. Think of them as your own pets. Knowing they can’t eat certain foods, would you intentionally feed them these items?
Here is an overall review of foods you should NOT feed your worms:
Many foods today are processed. That means they are packaged with multiple ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Those additional ingredients aren’t good for your worms. The rule of thumb we like to use is that anything added to make something taste amazing or last forever isn’t good for the worms. Excessive salt, hydrogenated oils, fats, and chemical preservatives are bad for the worms. All these will hurt your composting worms’ digestive process. Limit processed foods in your worm bin. Instead, rely more on fresh fruit and vegetable scraps.
No Oils and Fats
Again, our rule of thumb pertains to oils and fats. Unlike worms, we need oils and fats which we get from vegetable oils, butter and margarine. Meat-eaters get oils and fats in animal products. Other animal products such as meat and bones should NEVER be placed in the worm bin. NEVER add milk, cheese, or yogurt in all their varieties.
Acidic foods are unhealthy for people who suffer from gastric problems. Your worms, as well, suffer from acidic foods. They rely on a neutral pH balance of 7 to thrive. Avoid adding to the worm bin acidic foods like citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, and onions. This includes their skins and peels. Limit those fruits and vegetables to a small amount to not alter the pH balance.
And a Few Notes of Caution
Keep spicy foods, especially hot peppers, away from your worms!
Bleached white office and coated paper, colored inks, and envelopes with plastic windows are unhealthy for worms. From time to time, adding shredded corrugated cardboard and black ink newspaper is acceptable. (They also make great bedding for a new worm bin.)
Grass clippings from untreated lawns (without pesticides or herbicides) are OK in small amounts. Too much grass will overheat the worm bins.
Lastly, do not feed your worms non-foods. Avoid pits, bleached or colored paper napkins, and household trash. Treat your worms with care. Think twice and, if in doubt, toss it out in the nearest garbage receptacle.
A healthy worm is a happy worm. And a happy worm is a good composting worm. Treat your composting worms even better than you treat yourself. In return, they will produce free organic fertilizer for your plants.
For more tips, check out our blog. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm has a variety of additional supplies, composters and live worms. We suggest European Night Crawlers for composting, fishing and releasing into the garden. Red Worms are best for composting.
All our worms are born and bred in the USA at our farm in rural Pennsylvania.