Best Foods to Feed Red Wiggler Composting Worms


We’ve tried a bunch of foods in our bins at home and have a nice list for you to keep things simple.

It’s easy to make worms happy if you feed your red worms a variety of foods they love.

LOVE:

  • Vegetable scraps: apple cores, peels, carrot tops and wilted lettuce or trimmings. Any vegetable that’s not spicy or really gaseous will make them happy. 
  • Non-citrus fruit work best, such as watermelon rind, strawberry tops, old blueberries, etc. Drastically limit citrus or eliminate all together to avoid fruit flies and to keep the bin clean smelling and easy to work with.
  • Used tea. We like to rip up the bags before dropping in but it’s not necessary to break them up.
  • Coffee grounds and filters. Don’t add too much  coffee all at once. Mix with other foods. Test your worms’ preferences. 
  • Dried leaves. If you want to add more bedding, leaves are awesome!
  • Used napkins and paper towels are ok as long as they are not greasy.
  • Shredded cardboard and paper bags are easy to find and recycle. Shred up the paper bags to make the bedding fluffy. I like to moisten the bedding before adding to the bin. I dip in a big bowl of water or spray.
  • CRUSHED egg shells. We’ve been reading that reproduction increases when worms live among egg shells! It helps add a little grit to the bin. Otherwise, use a small amount of garden dirt that has not been treated with chemicals. A small handful of eggshells or dirt is enough.

LIMIT:

  • Citrus peels and fruit – to avoid fruit flies.
  • Starchy foods like pasta, bread and rice – too much for worms to handle with all that bedding already in there.It will take longer for the bin to compost.

AVOID:

  • Onions
  • Spicy peppers
  • Twigs
  • Meat
  • Daily
  • Oily foods
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Animal feces

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  1. FINICKY EATERS: If after a week you notice a food hasn’t been touched, they may not be too fond of it. When testing a food, position it where you can easy find it later.
  2. EASY TO PLEASE: If they are happy with the food, temperature and moisture level, they will stay put in the bin even with the top off! The more circulation the better. But do not place the bin under a bright light.
  3. SPOIL ‘EM ROTTEN: If you really want to make brats out of your worms, chop up their food. This isn’t necessary but it speeds things up. Your bin may be completed in record time by making it easier for the worms to break down the scraps. We use a food processor, bring the bowl directly into the garage and scoop out the ground food with a rubber spatula. You can also store chopped up food in the frig until ready to feed if you end up with extra.
  4. PUT THAT FOOD TO BED: Because we keep our worms inside our garage, it’s important to us that the bin not call fruit flies, mice or get over-run with ants. Always cover the food with bedding. Folks that dump food on top increase the chance of fruit flies or yukky smells.The best method is to make layers of food and bedding with a big layer of bedding on top.

I made a video that shows you my favorite method for collecting worm compost:

The Easiest Way to Harvest Worm Castings

 

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3 Comments

  1. take a cement mixer and put all the stuf you want to compost and turn it on till all is smashed then it will break down faster

  2. Hi Cindy!
    Just checking out your website to get info on composting, as I am getting a fair amount of compost material building up in a backyard bin. I hope to get our new raised bed going in the spring and wanted to see how long the compost needs to breakdown before amending it in the garden. Hope you and the fam are doing well this new year!

    • Hey Marty! In hot weather I can get finished compost in about 2 months if I’m lucky and I do a good job of:
      ~Keeping it moist (not too wet)
      ~Turned every week so it all has a chance to heat up
      ~Revving it up with alfalfa pellets, pee or some kind of commercial compost accelerator
      ~Keeping the ratio of browns to greens to about 60/40 – more browns (carbon) than greens. Leaves, paper, straw, dried grass, etc. combined with a little less food scraps and other sources of nitrogen. They say the larger the pile or amount of material the more it will heat up in the middle, but for us city folk it’s hard to compost on the ground and go really huge.

      I have no idea what the weather is out there now. Wish you had cooler temps for my worms year round. You commented on this worm post but assume it’s a compost bin not a worm bin. If you’re gearing up to keep a worm bin and you’ll be down this way before we move, I’ll give you one of mine.

      Great news about the bed. The ones I have up at the community garden are doing really well. I’ve been picking lettuce, spinach and baby Swiss chard and realize beds are my best bet.

      Say “Hi” to the gang for me!

      Cindy

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