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How to Feed Worms in a Vermicompost Bin

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How to Feed Worms in a Vermicompost Bin

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Overview

Worm composting provides an ideal, low-maintenance option for avid gardeners and green-living aficionados to create humus-rich compost for soil enrichment. Once you've acquired your red worms and put them in a bin of shredded, damp newspaper or dead leaves, you're ready for one of the most important aspects of maintaining a vermicompost bin: properly feeding the worms. Failure to provide the worms with the right kind of food or the correct amounts can result in problems ranging from odor issues to worm malnutrition. Feed the worms well and you'll soon be harvesting a rich soil amendment for your indoor and outdoor plants.

Step 1

Feed the worms kitchen scraps they can consume without causing odor problems; ideal foods for worms include fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, plain cereal, bread or rice. Place the food scraps in a small plastic tub, such as a recycled ice cream pail, and keep it stored and uncovered on the kitchen counter.

Step 2

Weigh the amount of food waste the worms get to make sure they are getting enough to eat. Collect about half their body weight in food each day. For example, 2 lbs. of worms in a bin will require approximately 1 lb. of food waste each day

Step 3

Gently pull back a handful of damp newspaper to create a small crater in the worm bedding. Dump the food into the hole and cover it with 3 to 4 inches of bedding to minimize food odors and fruit fly problems. Repeat this process one to two times per week. Put the food in different areas of the bin each time to help distribute the food to the entire population.

Step 4

Collect eggshells and crush them into small pieces. Sprinkle the eggshells into the worm bin once weekly with the food to provide grit for the worms.

Step 5

Monitor the amount of food that the worms consume. Pull the bedding back to expose the food and visually assess how much they've consumed each day. Increase the feeding amount if they consume all the food before the next scheduled feeding.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid feeding dairy products, oils, meats and pet feces to the worms. These foods are more likely to attract rodents and insects to the worm bin.

Things You'll Need

  • Worm bin with red worms
  • Kitchen food scraps
  • Small plastic tub
  • Kitchen scale
  • Newspaper bedding
  • Eggshells

References

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Worm Composting
  • "The Worm Book;" Janet Hogan Taylor & Loren Nancarrow; 1998
Keywords: composting with worms, feeding red worms, feeding worms

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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