Vermicomposting enthusiasts agree overall on what to feed their worms. But I’ve been feeding worms for decades now and know exactly what worms gobble up in a matter of days and what they leave for until they get hungry. In this article, we add our subjective twist as to the top five best foods for composting worms to make the worms thrive.
People who cultivate lawns, shrubs, and flowers love the “black gold” fertilizer from vermicomposting. And worms that eat the food they love remain happy and healthy so they produce lots of natural, organic fertilizer. Yes, worms will eat just about anything, but better nutrition provides better results.
So if you have the means, there’s no reason not to feed them the best foods for composting worms – you’ll see it’s not that difficult. But before we list the top five best foods, we need to list the WORST foods.
The Seven Worst Things to Feed Your Worms:
- The 3 S’s: Anything that contains spices, salt, and sauces
- Meat, bone, and gristle
- Dairy products and any products that include milk, cream, butter, yogurt, or cheese;
- Acidic foods like pineapple, limes, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits – including their rinds -, and tomatoes;
- Any food with preservatives and chemicals such as fast food
- Non-foods, i.e., plastic, sawdust, windowed envelopes, and other rubbish
We suggest that you toss these items immediately into the trash receptacle and do NOT feed them to your worms. These foods can cause foul odors and an environmental imbalance in your worm bin, degrading the quality of your vermicompost.
Some Reminders About Worm Food
Here are a few simple reminders before we venture into the top five best foods:
- Under ideal conditions, a worm can eat its own body weight in food scraps each day. If you have a pound of worms in your bin, you can feed up to a pound of food scraps a day. However, a good rule of thumb is to feed your worms after they have started to work on the last feeding. This might be every other day or every three days. In this way, food scraps will be gone with no overpowering odors or pests. Read more details about feeding the worms.
- Try to maintain the proper amount of moisture and a pH balance of approximately 7.
- Last but not least, the smaller the pieces of food, the faster your worms will compost it. Cut the food up using a knife, food chopper, or food processor.
Top Five Best Foods for Your Worms
#1 Leafy Green Vegetables
Worms love lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard, to name a few of these vegetables. Be sure to cut these scraps down into small pieces or even food-process them. Remember to thoroughly rinse off all hot spices, sauces, oils, dressings, and cheeses because they can harm your vermicomposting project.
#2 Melons/Squash and Pumpkins
Cantaloupe and honeydew are the top choices as compost worm food. However, due to the high water content in honeydew and likewise in watermelon, we suggest limited portions. Melon rinds are also yummy for your worms.
Broccoli is great for your worms. Just cut it down into smaller pieces or food-process it and your worms will be happy. A note of caution: Along with bananas and their peels and cabbage family vegetables, broccoli smells bad for indoor composting.
The good part about apples is that everything is digestible: peel, core, and the flesh of the apple itself. But like the previous suggestions, cut the apples up into smaller, manageable pieces, so your worms can compost quicker!
#5 SURPRISE: Pasta
Pasta is rarely mentioned as one of the best foods for compost worms, but it’s still a good food for your worms within certain parameters. The pasta needs to be clean of sauces, butter, cheeses, and oils!
Want to Know More About Worm Food?
Check out our other articles for more information on what to feed your worms. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is the top American supplier of Red Composting Worms, the Kings of Composting.
We also have European Night Crawlers, wonderful for composting, great for aeration, and superb as fishing bait. Plus, you can find an array of vermicomposting bins and supplies to meet your every need.
Whether you’re just getting into composting or are an old pro who needs very specific stuff, you can find it all here – from guides to worms to products.