What Do Worms Eat?

So what do worms eat?  This post is the 3rd in a series on setting up a cheap vermicomposting bin.  See my post on what worms like to eat for more details on how to feed worms.  In this post I would like to get a few ideas across.

  1. Always bury the kitchen scraps to eliminate fruit flies and odors.
  2. Since you have a small bin, feed the worms what they like.
  3. Start small and increase food amount gradually.
  4. Make sure they finish what you give them first before adding more.
  5. Don’t expect them to eat all your scraps unless you have a very large or several bins.
  6. Make sure there are no bad odors in the worm bin, this would indicate that it is becoming anaerobic and needs more oxygen.

A big reason why people fail with worm bins is that they put in too much food.  That is what I did with my first bin and it was a miserable failure.  Start small and build up the amount gradually.  Don’t worry they will not starve.  They will actually eat the newspaper.  Here is a list of things that I find my worms really like:

  1. Butternut squash and pumpkinWhat Do Worms Eat-Worm Food
  2. Banana peels
  3. Cantaloupe and watermelon rinds
  4. Cucumber and zucchini peelings
  5. Rabbit manure
  6. Apple cores
  7. Spoiled peaches
  8. Small amount of crushed eggshells
  9. Shredded leaves that have no chemicals on them
  10. Small amount of soil for grit for their gizzard.

At some point you will stop adding paper and let the worms finish processing the bedding and kitchen scraps to produce finished vermicompost.  The whole process will take 3-4 months.  Check your worm bin every few days.  Use plastic gloves and dig down into the bedding to see how things are.  If it is a little dry spritz it with a spray bottle.  Do the worms look healthy?  Are they moving around?  Is there any bad odor?  If there is a bad smell it means there is not enough oxygen.  Moving everything around gives it more oxygen.  If it is too moist add shredded newspaper.  When you are finished make sure the food scraps are still buried.  If they have finished the food give them some more.

See an interesting youtube video on Boakshi and red composting worms!

If you are starting small like this the worms are not going to eat so much.  This is really just a way to get started.  Learn the process and see if it works for you.  If it works you can buy a bigger bin and more worms later.  Maybe your worms will multiply so well that you won’t have to buy any additional.  I started with 1 lb of worms and have given worms away twice and now they fill 3 bins.  So they do have a way of multiplying very quickly. Click below to order worms:

Good luck!

5 thoughts on “What Do Worms Eat?

  1. Pingback: Free Red Worms-Start Worm Composting Now | Gardening, Composting and Worm Composting

  2. Pingback: Got Your Worms Before Your Worm Bin? | Gardening, Composting and Worm Composting

  3. Luis

    This is my first experience with them. I started with 500. I had them for 4 weeks now. I am not sure what they cannot eat. They are in a 10 gallons blue plastic container with lot of small holes for breathing. So far they look OK but I not sure for I feed with newspaper sherd, dirt, sand and some yard scrap that later I found out it was contaminated with weed killer. If they look OK, should I leave them alone?

  4. Sandie Anne Post author

    Hi Luis,

    I am not sure how the weed killer will affect them. If they look OK now that is a good sign. Can you see the yard scraps in the bin? If you can I would remove as much as possible in order to get that weed killer out of your bin. Worms really like kitchen scraps. Some of their favorites are cantaloupe and watermelon skins, cucumber peels, banana peels, zucchini and yellow squash skin and winter squash such as butternut or pumpkin. Just put the scraps in the bin and cover with shredded newspaper. Start with a little and see how they do. You can always add more later. Too much food can cause problems too.

    Good Luck!
    Sandie Anne

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