Worms can eat cooked vegetables that do not have any salt. Add small amounts of vegetables at a time to your worm farm or bin. Cut the cooked vegetables into small pieces to help the worms to break them down quicker. Cooked vegetables can attract ants and flies so make sure you cover them with straw or hay and use a tight fitting lid.
Cooked vegetables are safe to feed to worms. Soil bacteria will move in and start to digest the cooked vegetables as well. Worms will eat both the vegetables and the soil bacteria, turning them into worm castings.
The nutrients from the vegetables will be stored in the worm castings ready to mix through your garden and improve soil.
Putting cooked vegetables is a worm farm is a great way to prevent them from ending up in landfill. You can also put them into your compost heap but make sure you mix them through well and add brown materials to absorb the water.
Top tips for feeding cooked vegetables to worms
Here are my top tips for safely feeding cooked vegetables to your worms. These tips will help to keep your worm bin in balance, prevent ants and flies and help the worms to digest the vegetables quickly.
1. Add small amounts of cooked vegetables at a time
When adding cooked vegetables to your worm bin it is important to start by adding small amounts at a time. If you have a small worm farm, start with a small handful of cooked vegetables and see how long it takes for your worms to break them down.
After they have broken down the first amount, you can add more. Adding too many cooked vegetables at a time can add too much water to the worm farm and attract ants. You want to add just enough so that the worms can break them down within a week.
Larger worm bins can break down large amounts of cooked vegetables when they are working well. Remember to start with small amounts and layer them thinly on the surface. This will give the worms more room to move and more surface area to break the vegetables down quicker.
2. Avoid adding cooked vegetables with added salt
Avoid adding cooked vegetables to worm bins that have lots of added salt. Salt can harm the worm and end up in the worm castings. This salt can damage your soil if you mix it through. It is always best to avoid adding any extra salt to your worm bin to keep it healthy.
3. Cut cooked vegetables into small pieces
To help worms to break down cooked vegetables quicker it is important to cut them up into small pieces. Cut them up into pieces that are 1/3 of an inch or less to give the worms more surface area to eat from.
This will also increase the amount of soil bacteria that start to break down the vegetables. The worms will eat the soil bacteria as well as the vegetables breaking it down even quicker.
Helping worms to break down the cooked vegetables fast will mean that you can make worm castings quicker and have them ready sooner for your garden.
4. Cover the cooked vegetables with dry, brown materials
After adding cooked vegetables to your worm bin, cover them with some dry, brown material. This could be dry fall leaves, straw, tree mulch, hay or sugar cane mulch. This will help to absorb the extra water from the vegetables to stop your worm farm from becoming too wet.
This layer will also help to prevent ants and flies from coming into your worm bin. Sweet, cooked vegetables including carrots and squash can attract ants so remember to cover them every time. The worms will eventually eat the brown material too, turning them into worm castings.
5. Wait for cooked vegetables to cool before adding them
Always wait for cooked vegetables to cool completely before putting them in your worm bin. Allow them to cool on your kitchen bench until they reach room temperature. They can then then be added to your worm farm.
Adding hot, cooked vegetables to worm bins can harm your worms. They are sensitive to heat and even can be burnt by the hot vegetables. Hot vegetables can also kill soil bacteria in the worm farm so always make sure they are at room temperature first.
6. Use a tight fitting lid for your worm bin
Always make sure you have a tight fitting lid on your worm bin if you are adding cooked vegetables. Rats and mice love to eat cooked vegetables so keep them out with a good lid. Worm bins will usually come with a good lid which only has small holes to allow air movement.
Make sure the lid is sitting on the worm bin straight to block any gaps that could allow rats and mice to enter.
7. Cover with a worm blanket
Always cover the top of the worm bin contents including cooked vegetables with a worm blanket or an alternative. Worm blankets can be purchased to fit most worm bins or make one yourself. You can use recycled materials like cardboard, newspaper, old t-shirts, hessian or sheets to cover the surface of your worm bin.
For more on worm blanket alternatives, check out my previous article here: Alternatives to worm blankets | Free Ways to Cover Worm Farms
Layer the materials on top of the food scraps to protect the worms and keep moisture in. Worms will usually eat these materials over time so replace your worm blanket every 6 months.
Should you avoid feeding worms cooked onion?
You can feed worms cooked onion and they will break it down into worm castings. Only add small amounts for the worms to break down. Cooked onion will be eaten quickly by worms and soil bacteria. Start with a small amount before adding more to help the worms break it down quicker.
Feeding Worms Cooked Vegetables | Summary
Worms can be fed cooked vegetables if they are unsalted and cool. Add a thin layer to the top of your worm bin and cover them with straw or hay and then a worm blanket. Start with a small amount first and let your worms eat it before adding more. Add a tight fitting lid to your worm bin to stop rats and ants from getting in the worm bin.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.