Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What to Feed Worms

Another question from Jamye:

Hello. I hope you don't mind me asking a couple of questions. I am wanting to raise European nightcrawlers for profit and for my husband's fishing needs and not for composting, so is there anything simpler that I can feed them, like cornmeal? Can they eat yellow cornmeal, or any type of cornmeal?

Worm Food - What to Feed Your Worms

Feeding worms grain like cornmeal is a little tricky.  Cornmeal is very nutritious, much more so than cardboard. You almost have to feed grain to get your worms to their fattest possible condition.  But there's a danger when using grain to feed your worms.

The problem with grains (cornmeal, Worm Meal, chicken scratch, etc.) is they can sour and turn your bedding acid.  An acid bedding is a real worm killer.  You must keep your worm bedding at a neutral pH at all times to avoid "acid poisoning".  So what do you do in order to fatten your worms with grain? The trick is to apply enough grain so your worms can pig out, but not too much.  Here's how to feed your worms grain:
  • Mist the top of your bedding.
  • Sprinkle your grain over the top of the bedding (think "Parmesan cheese on your lasagna")
  • Mist the grain
  • Remove any uneaten grain the next day before applying new grain.
  • Add less grain if there is too much left over
  • Add more grain if every last bit is gone
The bottom line is feed as much dampened grain as your worms can eat in a 24 hour period.  Other cautions about using grain as worm feed:
  • Always remove uneaten grain before turning your bedding
  • Always use a mister setting to apply water to avoid driving the grain into the bedding
  • Don't let the grain dry out.  Worms can't eat it if it's dry
To answer your other question, Jamye, use plain yellow cornmeal.  Yellow is more nutritious and plain has no salt or leavening compounds.  Commercial worm feed, however,  is much more nutritious than corn meal.  You can buy worm feed at local seed and feed stores, but it comes in 50 pound bags. 

If you only have a small amount of worms right now and you don't use it up, it can get bugs in it.  We have a smaller quantity available of the worm feed we use for those of you who don't have a local source or don't require the large amounts just yet.

Worm Growing Resources

Serious about raising worms for fishing, vermicomposting or reselling? Check out my "Worm Farm Manual" for more worm problems and their solutions.  
  • *Update:  This manual is currently on sale for 30% off on both the digital and hardcopy versions.  Hurry, sale ends 10.17.23!  Buy Now

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