What To Feed Worms For Epic Vermicompost

Ed Wike
Written by
Last update:

What To Feed Worms From Your Kitchen

Worms are scavengers. They feast on leftover scraps and compostable matter. They also convert it into vermicompost … a nutrient-rich, earthy humus.

They are a valuable addition to your garden and can be an asset to your compost pile.

This guide explains how to feed worms from your kitchen in order to get the best of this useful composting creature.

First, Let’s Learn About How Worms Work.

Worms need certain nutrients to be able to convert compost into their end product. According to the University of Illinois, they specifically require:

{1}. Nitrogen Sources – These include fruit and vegetable waste, grass clippings, straw, spoiled leftovers, and coffee grounds.
{2}. Carbon Sources – This includes cooked and uncooked plant matter, dirts and fibers.
{3}. Moisture – Any organic materials, including food waste need to be kept moist for the process to work.
{4}. Air – You need to avoid suffocating the worms. This means, keeping the worms well aerated.
{5}. A place to hide – Many worms will burrow into the dirt. This can be natural or man-made.

Fattening Up Your Worms

Worms can be fed a variety of organic materials. Fruit, vegetable scraps, paper, and coffee grounds are a few good ideas. They can also be fed a high-waste animal feeder or a dry pet food diet. But if you're set on healthy compost, you'll want to feed some protein for the fats that will help your vermicompost mature. The following list includes the foods that worms like best.

Alfalfa: Along with grass clippings, this should be one of the first things your worms start on.

Along with grass clippings, this should be one of the first things your worms start on. Beet Juice: Diluted beet juice is another healthy food. It’s high in sugar cane, so it’s perfect for feeding white worms, too.

Diluted beet juice is another healthy food. It’s high in sugar cane, so it’s perfect for feeding white worms, too. Cheese: Dairy products should not be fed in large quantities, but cheese isn’t the worst thing in the world for your worms.

What Else Will Worms Eat?

There's no shortage of things you can feed your worms.

A good rule of thumb is that if something is organic, your worms will eat it (well, except for tin cans and glass bottles).

Not sure where to start?

Here are some ideas for organic materials you can feed your worms both indoors and outdoors:

  • Beans (took the time to remove the partner beans?)
  • Bulrushes
  • Carrot tops
  • Cardboard
  • Cat litter (litter-grade, used only)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Corn husks
  • Corn stalks
  • Cottonseed hulls
  • Cucumber peels
  • Egg shells
  • Fabric scraps (preferably clean)
  • Grass (cut into small pieces)
  • Hair (human and pet)
  • Hay (ideally rained on first)

Human-consumed food waste (e.g. vegetable/fruit scraps, vegetable-matter from soup, spaghetti, and rice)

Kitchen scraps (avoid meat, fish, oil, dairy).

Lumber Scraps (Chopped Fine)

Newspaper (remove glossy parts, tie in bundles, soak in water first).

Don’t Forget Your Grit

You should make sure to add what is called grit to your bin for the worms to eat. If you do not add grit, or sand, you will have a tough time getting your worms to eat what you will be feeding them and they’ll end up not liking what you feed them because they will all be crawling up and down the sides of your bin searching for something that they like.

If you decide to add sand to your bin, make sure to only add a very little bit of sand. If you add too much sand, it will not only be hard to get the worms to eat, but it will also slow down the decomposition process of your castings.

The best way to add a bit of sand to your castings is to put a bit of the worms compost in a container. Then dump the sand into your worm bin, and then mix the sand and the compost together to get a nice consistency.