What to Feed Compost Worms

Worms will eat their way through any organic material, leaving behind a rich, dark material, ideal for enriching soil. Feeding compost worms is easy, as you can find food from your leftovers, or even cardboard and newspapers. Likewise, worm composting can be done whether you live in a home or an apartment.

Worm Food

Compost worms can and will eat any organic material you give them. Naturally, this includes any vegetable or fruit peelings, as well as small amounts of coffee grounds or used tea leaves. You may be surprised to know that you can feed your worms whole used tea bags, cardboard, black and white newspaper and even human hair. Works will also eat grains such as rice, pasta or cereal. If you have wilted flowers, and you are sure that they were not sprayed with insecticide, feed compost worms these as well. Crush some egg shells to give to the worms to aid their digestion. Use rock dust or crushed oyster shells instead of egg shells if you wish. The texture helps grind the food for them, since they don't have teeth to break food particles down.

What Not to Feed Compost Worms

Never give your compost worms cat or dog droppings since medicine used to de-worm them will quickly kill your compost worms as well. Also, do not place plastic bags, glass, aluminum foil or any other non-biodegradable in the worm box. Avoid feeding them large quantities of bread, since it could attract insects before the worms have finished eating. Animal products, like chicken bones, meat and fish could attract mice or rats, and should be avoided as well. Compost worms dislike fried and oily foods, so do not give them junk food. They also tend to avoid spicy foods like garlic, ginger and onions. Large amounts of coffee grounds can make their surroundings too acidic for them. Food that is not quickly eaten will produce unpleasant odors. So it is definitely in your best interest to feed your compost worms food they enjoy.

When and How to Feed Worms

Once you know what you are going to feed compost worms, make it easy for them to eat by chopping their food. Before compost worms start eating, their food needs to be broken down by bacteria. Smaller pieces of food makes it easier for bacteria to get to work. You can even throw everything in the blender if you wish. Place the worm food under the newspaper that covers their bin. There is no need to mix the food into the soil. Check in a few days to see whether the compost worms have started to eat the food. Food that becomes moldy and starts to smell should be removed. Feed compost worms less often if you find more than a small amount of food when you check on them.

Keywords: composting worms, feeding worms, organic material

About this Author

Ruth Taylor is a teacher and a freelance writer. She has been writing for years, but only recently started freelancing. Her articles have appeared in Livestrong, eHow and other websites. In college she majored in Spanish and graduated summa cum laude with a M.A.T. in teaching a second language. She has taught both in high school and elementary school.