What To Feed Worms

Written by: Memes Worms

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Time to read 11 min

Table of Contents

What To Feed Worms

What   should   you   feed   your   compost   worms:

The most important factor of what to feed worms  is that composting worms eat organic matter. To be safe it is better to try not to feed them anything other than that! But they will thrive on some things over others.

All manner of organic waste such as vegetable and fruit peelings, eggshell, tea (bag and all) and coffee grounds provide a king's feast for worms. You can be indiscriminate about these items and your worms will thrive. They will also eat other food waste such as shredded newspaper, egg cartons and cardboard. Worms will also consume human (and pet) hair and nails.

Some of their favorite foods are melons, avacodo, banana, basically anything sweet. When you don't have any sweet fruits just add some of Memes Microbial Food. When feeding the microbes you are actually feeding worms, as worms really eat the microbes. 

The following include common organic waste, fruit, vegetable, and organic waste, which you can feed your compost worms, including:

  • Food Scraps such as Fruit and vegetable peels, rinds and cores (including pumpkin, leftover corn cobs, melon rinds, banana peels, fruit and veggie food scraps. You can run the food scraps through a food processor but it is not necessary.

  • Egg shells or Oyster Shell Flour, shredded newspapers, egg cartons and cardboard

  • Coffee grounds and filters

  • Tea bags & leaves

  • Aged manure from any vegetable-eating animal (rabbits, horses, cows, llamas, etc.) NOTE: Make sure that you do not use manure that contains deworming medication, which could kill your worms!

 Remember: When feeding worm compost, basically go “green” Keeping household waste out of our landfills will help in saving our planet. 

Most anything you put into a traditional compost bin you can add to worm farm. “Green” additions are nitrogen-based (grass clippings, plant cuttings, and fruit and vegetable scraps), but the worm bin also needs “browns” or carbon-based items such as shredded newspaper, copy paper, egg cartons, and shredded cardboard.


What  not  to  feed  your  compost  worms  and  why:

There are a few things you need to be wary of when feeding worms. The main foods we want to avoid feeding the worm are usually toxic foods which can harm the worm itself, or foods which can disrupt the environment of a healthy worm bin.

Foods such as citrus containing limonene, a substance toxic to worms in anything other than small quantities, should be avoided. Onions and foods from the onion family (leeks, shallots, garlic, chives), meat and dairy in all forms, and pet poop are all foods you want to avoid feeding your worms.

The following include common toxic foods which will harm your worm bin:

  • Tomatoes or potatoes

    • Worms will eat tomatoes but make sure to break down the seed or you will likely have some tomato sprouts in the bin. The same may occur with potatoes and their eyes spouting before the potato is consumed.

  • Meat, dairy, salty or oily products

    • Rotting meat, dairy, salty and oily products in the compost bin smells repulsive and tends to attract unwanted pests like flies and rats, therefore you should always avoid adding such foods in your worm bin.

  • Pet poop

    • Contains toxic compounds harmful to your worms, therefore best to avoid pet poop.

  • Citrus fruits, acidic fruit skin (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and pineapple)

    • The acidity found in citrus peels has the potential to harm worms and other microorganisms, consequently slowing down the decomposition rates within your bin.. Avoid putting acidic fruit and compounds into your worm bin. This can also attract fruit flies. Fruit fly larvae is present on most all fruits and will consume the worm farm if you don't keep fruits covered. 

  • Spicy foods: onion, garlic, leeks, capsicums, hot peppers

    • Just like spicy foods would irritate the taste buds of humans, the same applies to worms. It is best to leave them out of the worm farm.


How   to   feed   your   compost   worms   correctly   for  a   healthy   worm   bin

Cut up larger pieces of fruit and vegetable into smaller pieces before feeding. This aids in the decomposition process. A food processor will work but is not necessary.

Depending on the size of your worm farm -bin, feed the worms between once a week to every two days with about a cup (240 ml.) worm food ie: organic waste. You may want to keep a journal regarding how quickly your worms consume your fruit and veggie scraps, certain things so you can adjust the timings, amounts, and varieties. Worm bins which are smelly may be an indicator of overfeeding. Make sure you are rotating the areas of feeding in the bin to ensure the worms are being fed and tuck the food 3 to 4 inches under the bedding so the food cannot be infiltrated by pests.

Indications of proper feeding involves analyzing both the condition of your worms and their increasing numbers. If your worms are healthy and growing that is a tell tale sign that you are providing the correct foods in the right amounts.

One of the best worm food we like to feed is Memes Priemum Worm Chow. We make our own worm chow with many different ingredients as a food source. It only takes a think layer but will help in the aid of a diverse diet for nutrient rich worm castings. 

Can   I   over   feed   my   worms

You can over feed your worms if you are not careful. You should never add more than your composting worms will eat in a week. To keep your compost bin healthy make sure to use some shredded cardboard or paper under the household waste and cover with more brown food waste such as cardboard. 

Should   I   feed   my   worms   Manure

Feeding worms manures is important for several reasons:

1. Nutrient-Rich: Manures from herbivorous animals such as cows, horses, rabbits, and llamas are rich in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for the growth and reproduction of worms, as well as for the microbial activity that supports decomposition in the worm bin.

2. Microbial Diversity: Manures contain a diverse array of microorganisms that contribute to the decomposition process. These microorganisms help break down organic matter, releasing nutrients in forms that are accessible to worms and beneficial for soil health.

3. Moisture Retention: Manures often have a higher moisture content compared to other compostable materials. Adding manures to the worm bin helps maintain optimal moisture levels, creating a favorable environment for worm activity and microbial growth.

4. pH Balance: Manures can help balance the pH of the worm bin. While fresh manures may be slightly alkaline, they tend to neutralize over time as they decompose. This helps prevent drastic fluctuations in pH, which can be harmful to worms and microbial communities.

However, not all manures are suitable for feeding worms. It is important to avoid manures that may contain harmful substances or pathogens that could harm worms or disrupt the composting process. Manures to avoid include:

1. Fresh or Untreated Manures: Fresh manures can be too hot and may contain high levels of ammonia and pathogens that are harmful to worms. It is best to use aged or composted manures that have undergone decomposition and microbial activity, reducing the risk of pathogens and excess heat.

2. Manures from Carnivorous Animals: Manures from animals that primarily eat meat, such as dogs and cats, should be avoided. These manures may contain pathogens that are not fully broken down during composting and could pose health risks to worms and humans.

3. Manures with Chemical Residues: Manures from animals that have been treated with antibiotics, hormones, or chemical dewormers should be avoided. These chemicals can persist in the manure and may harm worms or disrupt the composting process.

In summary, feeding worms manures from herbivorous animals can provide valuable nutrients, microbial diversity, moisture, and pH balance to the worm bin. However, it is essential to choose manures carefully and avoid those that may contain harmful substances or pathogens. Aged or composted manures from herbivorous animals are generally safe and beneficial for vermicomposting.

When   to   Feed   Your   Worms

Knowing when to feed your worms is crucial for maintaining a healthy and productive vermicomposting system. Several factors influence the timing of feeding sessions:

1. Observation: Regularly observe your worm bin to assess the level of decomposition and the activity of the worms. If you notice that the previous feeding has been mostly consumed, and the worms are actively moving through the compost, it may be time to add more food.

2. Food Availability: Worms require a consistent food supply to sustain their population and maintain efficient composting. As the worms consume organic matter, they deplete their food source and may require replenishment. Be mindful of the amount of food available in the bin and adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.

3. Microbial Activity: Worms rely on microorganisms present in the compost to break down organic matter into nutrient-rich castings. Feeding your worms when microbial activity is at its peak ensures that food waste is efficiently decomposed and converted into compost.

4. Avoid Overfeeding: It's important not to overfeed your worms, as this can lead to several issues such as foul odors, pest infestations, and imbalanced composting conditions. Worms require time to process and digest food, so refrain from adding new food until the previous batch has been mostly consumed.

5. Temperature and Moisture Levels: Temperature and moisture play significant roles in the composting process. Warmer temperatures and adequate moisture levels facilitate decomposition and microbial activity. Consider adjusting your feeding schedule based on seasonal changes and environmental conditions to ensure optimal composting conditions. It is a good idea to have a thermometer in your worm bin.

In summary, feed your worms when the previous food supply has been mostly consumed, when microbial activity is high, and when environmental conditions are conducive to composting. Regular observation, careful monitoring of food availability, and avoiding overfeeding are essential practices for maintaining a healthy and balanced vermicomposting system. By paying attention to these factors, you can ensure that your worms remain active, healthy, and productive contributors to your composting efforts.

Rotating   feeding   spots   in   a   worm   bin   is   important   for   several   reasons:

1. Prevents Compaction: Rotating feeding spots helps distribute organic waste evenly throughout the worm bin. This prevents the buildup of waste in one area, reducing the likelihood of compaction. Compacted areas can restrict airflow and create anaerobic conditions, which are harmful to worms and beneficial microorganisms.

2. Balances Decomposition: By feeding in different spots, you encourage worms to explore various areas of the bin. This results in a more uniform decomposition process, as worms distribute their efforts across the entire composting material. It helps ensure that all parts of the bin receive adequate attention and decomposition, leading to more efficient composting overall.

3. Prevents Odors and Imbalance: Concentrating food waste in one spot can lead to the rapid decomposition of organic matter, which may cause foul odors and imbalance in the worm bin. Rotating feeding spots helps moderate decomposition rates and prevents the buildup of excess moisture and acidity in localized areas.

4. Encourages Movement: Rotating feeding spots encourages worms to move and aerate the bedding material as they search for food. This helps maintain a healthy and active worm population and promotes the mixing of organic matter throughout the bin. Improved aeration and movement prevent the formation of anaerobic pockets and enhance overall composting efficiency.

5. Optimizes Resource Utilization: By spreading food waste across different areas of the bin, you ensure that worms have access to a diverse range of nutrients and microorganisms. This optimizes resource utilization and promotes balanced nutrition for the worms, supporting their health and reproduction.

In summary, rotating feeding spots in a worm bin promotes even decomposition, prevents compaction and odor issues, encourages movement and aeration, and optimizes resource utilization. It is an essential practice for maintaining a healthy and productive vermicomposting system.

Why   is   Oyster   Shell   Flour   important   to   feed   my   worms

incorporating oyster shell flour into their diet provides several important benefits:

  1. Calcium Source: Oyster shell flour is rich in calcium, which is essential for the development of worms' bodies and reproductive systems. Calcium helps maintain their structural integrity and supports healthy eggshell formation in breeding worms.

  2. pH Regulation: Oyster shell flour acts as a natural pH buffer in the worm bin. It helps stabilize the acidity levels of the composting environment, preventing sudden pH fluctuations that can stress worms and disrupt microbial activity. A balanced pH promotes optimal decomposition and ensures the overall health of the worm population.

  3. Grit for Digestion: Worms have a unique digestive system that relies on grit to help break down organic matter. Oyster shell flour provides the necessary grit that worms need to grind food particles in their digestive tract. This aids in the digestion process and allows worms to extract nutrients more efficiently from the composting material.

  4. Improved Soil Structure: As worms consume organic matter and excrete nutrient-rich castings, they help improve soil structure and fertility. Oyster shell flour enhances this process by enriching the compost with calcium and other essential minerals. This creates nutrient-dense soil amendments that promote plant growth and vitality.

  5. Preventing Eggshell Degradation: In addition to supporting eggshell formation, the calcium from oyster shell flour helps prevent the degradation of existing eggshells in the worm bin. This ensures that eggs remain intact and viable, contributing to the continuous reproduction and growth of the worm population.

In conclusion, incorporating oyster shell flour into the diet of composting worms is vital for providing essential nutrients, regulating pH levels, aiding digestion, enhancing soil structure, and preserving eggshell integrity. By prioritizing the inclusion of oyster shell flour in the worm bin, you can create a healthier and more productive environment for vermicomposting.


Why   feed   my   worms   microbial   food

Feeding worms microbial food is essential for several reasons:

  1. Nutritional Source: Worms primarily derive their nutrition from the microorganisms present on decomposing organic matter rather than the waste itself. These microorganisms serve as a vital food source for worms, providing them with essential nutrients and energy.

  2. Enhanced Decomposition: Microorganisms play a key role in breaking down organic matter into simpler compounds that worms can consume. By feeding worms microbial-rich food, you promote the rapid decomposition of organic waste, speeding up the composting process.

  3. Maintaining Ecosystem Balance: Microorganisms create a balanced ecosystem within the worm bin. They help regulate the environment by breaking down waste, releasing nutrients, and preventing the accumulation of harmful substances that could disrupt the composting process.

  4. Healthy Worms: Feeding worms microbial food ensures their health and vitality. A diet rich in microorganisms supports their digestive system and overall well-being, leading to more productive composting and healthier worms.

  5. Optimal Composting Conditions: Microbial-rich food fosters the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi, which create ideal conditions for composting. These microorganisms help maintain proper moisture levels, temperature, and pH balance in the worm bin, creating an environment conducive to decomposition.

In summary, feeding worms microbial food is crucial for sustaining their nutritional needs, promoting efficient decomposition, maintaining ecosystem balance, supporting worm health, and creating optimal composting conditions. By prioritizing microbial-rich food in your worm bin, you can maximize composting efficiency and produce high-quality compost for your garden or plants.