Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
What Do Worms Eat?
What do worms eat? If you are building a rich, organic soil, you need to use worms for compost. What types of worms are best in your garden? Do you need to use a worm compost bin or worm composter?
These are important questions for building an organic, rich soil in your garden.
Understanding what worms eat is important if you are trying to encourage worms to thrive in your soil. Soil with a good population of worms in it is a healthy soil. If your existing soil has plenty of worms then you just need to keep them happy while your vegetables grow.
Worms for Compost:
Worms in the Soil - the Wonder of Worms
If you are introducing new soil to a raised bed garden then I recommend buying some worms to add to it.
The famous philosopher, Aristotle, declared that worms are the intestines of the earth, while Charles Darwin believed worms to be the most important creatures on the planet. Let's take a look at what they do to draw such praise.
Worms in your soil keep it aerated and maintain a functioning drainage system. Worms are, in effect, tilling your soil. They are doing this at all levels but, unlike the mechanical tiller, worms do not destroy the soil structure or pollute the environment with petrol fumes and residues.
By creating space with their burrowing, worms allow air to circulate, water to drain, and roots to grow. There are many types of worms, the worm in your soil is usually an earthworm. Treat it well and it will help you produce a great soil. There are other types of worms best used for smaller gardens (see below).
What do Worms Eat?
Worms in your soil feed on the decomposing organic matter that you are adding to it. Along with this food, they also ingest a certain amount of soil. In the digestive process harmful bacteria is neutralised and beneficial bacteria is produced.
The product that is excreted, known as castings, is a nitrogen rich, highly nutritious substance that makes your organic vegetable garden healthy.
If your existing soil is worm-poor, or you are introducing new soil to a new raised bed, find a local worm supplier through your fishing supplies shop or garden center supplier.
You can also produce a great, nutrient-rich compost, and recycle your kitchen waste to the wonderful earthworm. Hhere's how to use worms in your compost:
Visit your garden store (particularly try to find a store that specializes in organic gardening) and ask for a worm bin. What is a worm bin? It is a container that is home to a colony of special types of worms that are efficient natural composters; these worms are known as brandlings, tiger worms or redworms.
Worm bins can be kept indoors (although you need to very carefully manage them inside) or outdoors (in your garden, your greenhouse, your garden shed or even your garage). These bins also work very well for households with no garden, as they produce only a small quantity of compost and a liquid, which forms into a concentrated plant food.
Make sure you talk to your garden centre staff as there are many worm bins available for sale and you will want to get one that is most suitable for your environment (inside or outside) and for the amount of waste you have to compost.
You may wish to buy a worm starter kit at the beginning of your composting experience - again it's best to talk to your garden center to discuss your options and the best opportunity for success.
What Do Worms Eat?
What Can I Put in My Worm Compost Bin?
What do worms eat? Worms like:
- Egg shells (worms need calcium and egg shells are an excellent way of supplying this and keeping the bin from getting too acidic)
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
- Annual weeds (not seed heads)
- Green leaves
- Cow/horse manure
- Vegetable peelings
Worms don't like:
- Meat and fish (worms will eat these but they are best avoided as they tend to putrify and attract rats and flies)
- Grass in any quantity (heats up and gives off ammonia, both of which will kill worms)
- Weed seeds
- Diseased plant material
- Rice or pasta
- Baked beans
- Cooked potatoes
- Cat/dog feces (contains parasites)
Your organic garden needs worms in the soil. 'What do worms eat' needs to be understood and acted upon for your soil to do well. The reward is in a rich organic soil for your fruit and vegetable gardens. Without worms in the soil you are missing out on a priceless resource. If you don't have any in your existing soil then I recommend you buy some, or, far better, make your own worm composter.
For further information on what do worms eat and worms in the soil, please visit worms and soil structure and on worms in the soil - fertility.