Most home worm composters use their kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, vegetable leftovers, fruit peelings, apple cores, coffee grinds, tea bags, crushed egg shells, cardboard boxes, paper roll inserts, and egg cartons, to name a few.
Worms eat their food when it is in a state of decay. You can get it to decay faster if you cut it up in small pieces. A better way is to freeze their food and once a week, thaw and feed, or even better run thru a blender to mash the food into a slurry.
Either way the food should be put into a corner and covered with bedding. and when this food is almost gone, put their next feeding into a different corner and so on. Keeping track of how much food there is left in the worm bin before the next feeding, and keeping the food covered, eliminates problems with pests, such as fruit flies.
Although worms will eat anything that is decaying, some food waste that should be fed in moderation are onions, garlic, foods that are acidic such as citrus fruits and some waste that should never be fed include all dairy products, leftover foods with oil or salt on them and meats.
Many home worm composters have more food waste than their systems can handle, this is especially true when the system is first started. Remember the worms are eating not only food waste, but the bedding too. Worms are most efficient at composting when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees. Temperatures lower than 60 degrees causes the worms to slow down on the amount they eat and should be considered when feeding.
Some problems that can come up from over feeding is the food can become moldy. Mold is caused because the bedding is too acidic and is usually caused by too much citrus. You should remove this moldy food because the worms will not eat it and the system can become vulnerable to infestations from other organisms, such as mites, that can be harmful to the system and worms. Uneaten food can also become anaerobic and become smelly. This is usually caused by a worm bin with high moisture, and that is usually caused by a bin with little fresh air. You should mix up the bedding, add some dry newspaper to sop up excess moisture and stop feeding for at least a week.
Over feeding causes many annoyance and high maintenance worm bin problems, such as flies, maggots and the like. Many home worm composters get discouraged and give up.
A properly managed system can continue to compost for years and can give you a 100% organic soil amendment that is second to none for your home garden, house plants, lawn, trees and shrubs, while doing your part to keep some waste out of the landfill.
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