What to Feed Earthworms

By Jean Godawa
A close-up of an earthworm crawling through the dirt.
Vinicius Tupinamba/Hemera/Getty Images

If you’re into sport fishing or you’re an avid gardener, raising earthworms in a bin or container might be a useful venture. Not only do earthworms help minimize waste in the home, they give anglers a steady supply of fish bait and gardeners fresh compost for their plants. To ensure a healthy earthworm community, feed them a variety of organic materials.

Kitchen Waste

Two pounds of earthworms can consume 1 pound of kitchen waste per day. Save organic kitchen waste, including fruits and vegetables and their peelings, leftover plain pasta, bread and teabags, to feed to your worms once or twice a week. Since worms have gizzards, they need gritty foods, such as coffee grounds and eggshells, to assist with digestion. Chop the waste or use a blender to break it down into more manageable pieces. Supplement their diet with protein-rich grains, mash or seed meal.

Nonfood Waste

Earthworms can eat and bed in cow, horse, pig and rabbit manure, but using too much can overheat the bedding. Worms also process other nonfood organic matter, such as shredded cardboard and newsprint, wood shavings, sawdust and garden waste. Crushed dried leaves add variety to their diet and help when moisture in the bedding becomes excessive.

About the Author

Jean Godawa is a science educator and writer. She has been writing science-related articles for print and online publications for more than 10 years. Godawa holds a degree in biology and environmental science with a focus on entomology from the University of Toronto. She has conducted field research in the tropical rainforests of southeastern Asia and South America.