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What Should you Feed Worms?

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

If worms could talk, they would tell you their favorite foods are fruits and vegetables. Include the skin or peelings on all fruits and vegetables as worms love this part of the meal. Worms also enjoy used coffee grounds and crushed eggshells, so offer these when you can. Remember that worms love shredded newspaper and cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is their favorite and you can’t have too much of it. Don’t forget to soak it in water before giving it to your worms.

Worm Appropriate Foods

Here’s a list of foods to encourage and satisfy your worms’ appetite.

Apples, acorn squash, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bananas & banana peels, banana peppers, beans, bean sprouts, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, corn (can include the cob), cucumber, eggplant, green beans, honeydew, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnip, pears, peas, potatoes (can include skins), pumpkin, radishes, scallions, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, turnips (and turnip greens), watercress, watermelon, zucchini.

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and scallions should be used in moderation. These foods can cause unpleasant odors.

Foods to Avoid

Here’s a list of foods that will cause issues in your vermicomposting system.

Salt, sugar, meat and bones, anything oily/greasy (salad dressings, vegetable oil, etc.), dairy products (cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, sour cream), sweets (cookies, cake, candy), canned sauces, canned soup, processed foods, peanut butter, citrus foods, spicy foods, tomatoes.

Citrus foods such as oranges, lemons, pineapple, grapefruit and tomatoes are not good choices, they can make your bin too acidic. I also don’t feed hot peppers.

How Much & How Often Should You Feed Your Worms?

No set formula exists for feeding, but all experts agree on one thing: DO NOT OVERFEED YOUR WORMS.

A general guideline for a new bin is to feed no more than 1/4 the total weight of the worms in the bin at each feeding. For example, if your bin has a pound of worms, begin by feeding 1/4 of a pound of food. As your worms get established and start to multiply, you can gradually add more food.

Chopping the food into smaller pieces increases the surface area of the food and speeds up decomposition. You can also freeze your food scraps as freezing causes the food to decompose faster when thawed.

Use common sense when balancing the amount and frequency of food. Inspect the bin before each feeding, and if there is uneaten food left in the bin, do not add more. Food that your worms cannot consume in a few days may start to ferment and result in a smelly bin. Remember that your worms will also be munching happily away on their bedding of shredded newspaper and cardboard so your worms will have plenty to eat.

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1 Comment

Kelly Hunnay Alexander
Kelly Hunnay Alexander
Jul 16, 2022

Thank you so much for this article! Now I understand what happened to my thyme that I added worms to there bed. Citrus 😳🥺

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