Feed composting worms cooked, fresh or rotten tomatoes in small amounts. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces to help the worms to break them down quicker. Red wigglers will quickly break down tomatoes if they are mixed together with other vegetables. Cover them with mulch to help to absorb the excess moisture and deter vinegar flies.
Composting worms including red wigglers love to eat tomatoes. This article will explore all you need to know about feeding worms tomatoes safely. Follow these easy tips to keep your worm bin in balance and the worms happy.
Tips for feeding worms tomatoes in worm bins
Here are my top tips when feeding tomatoes to worms.
1. Add extra dry materials when you add tomatoes
Tomatoes contain a lot of water and can make the worm bin to wet if they are not balanced out with dry materials. Always add a handful of dry sugar cane mulch, potting soil or dry fall leaves on top of the tomatoes to help to absorb the extra moisture.
Tomatoes will be broken down quickly because they are soft and contain a lot of water. You can also add the stems to the worm bin but they will usually be broken down last.
2. Add small amounts of tomato at a time
Tomatoes have higher acidity levels than vegetable scraps and high moisture content so start with small mounts. My small worm bin will break down a handful of cherry tomatoes every 1-2 weeks. Cutting large tomatoes into pieces helps the worms to break it down quicker but it still takes time.
I like to spread out the tomatoes across the surface of the worm bin to give the worms more opportunity to eat them first. Then scatter other vegetable scraps on top and cover with mulch.
Cooked or canned tomatoes will usually be broken down quicker because they will be soft. If you are adding cooked tomatoes to your worm bin make sure they don’t have added salt and are cool.
3. Cut large tomatoes into pieces
Always cut large tomatoes into pieces before putting it your worm bin. This will give the worms and soil bacteria more surface area on the tomatoes to eat from helping them to break it down quicker.
Tomatoes can attract small vinegar flies if they take too long to break down so always make the pieces smaller. Keep the lid on the worm bin and cover the food with a worm blanket.
3. Mix through other vegetable scraps
Another tip is to always add tomatoes with other vegetable scraps. Potato and carrot peels are great scraps to mix with the tomatoes because they have a lower water content. This will give the worms a variety of food to eat and will help a range of soil bacteria to develop.
Soil bacteria work together with the worms to break down food scraps in the worm bin. Soil bacteria will digest the food and the worms will feed on both the soil bacteria and the food. This process will capture and release the nutrients into worm castings which are perfect for improving soil in vegetable garden, flower beds and potting soil.
Feeding worms fresh tomatoes
Tomatoes will happily eat fresh tomatoes in worm bins or farms. Cut them into smaller pieces and scatter them on the surface of the worm farm. Add a handful of mixed vegetable scraps and cover it all with straw and then a worm blanket.
Most worm farms will be able to break down 1-2 handfuls of tomatoes within a week. Larger worm farms will be able to consume much more but always start with a small amount.
Only add more tomatoes once the first ones have been eaten. Worm farms will process food quicker in the warmer weather. The amount of tomatoes that your worm bin can break down will be more in the spring and summer.
Worms will slow down in the cooler months and will generally eat less. Adjust the amount of food you are adding depending on the weather and how active your worms are.
Feeding worms rotten tomatoes
Composting worms in worm bins including red wigglers can be fed rotten or moldy tomatoes. Home grown tomatoes that have been left the bush for too long can be fed to worms. Worms will eat rotting tomatoes faster than fresh ones.
It is best to cover soft or rotten tomatoes with some extra soil or mulch to avoid attracting flies and to absorb the excess water.
Feeding cooked tomatoes to worms
Worms will happily eat cooked tomatoes that are fried, baked or boiled. It is important that the tomatoes do not contain excessive salt because this can harm the worms.
Always make sure you add cooled cooked tomatoes to your worm farm. Warm or hot tomatoes can hurt the worms and will also create steam. This steam will be caught up in the worm farm and encourage mold growth.
How many tomatoes to feed to worms
The number of tomatoes that your worm farm can break down will depend the size of the worm farm, the weather and the number of worms your bin. Tomatoes will be broken down
Established worm farms will also break down tomatoes quicker because over time the worms will breed quickly, increasing their numbers and increasing the amount of soil bacteria in the bin. This will help to break down food quickly turning it into worm castings.
Worm bins will break down food at their fastest rate in the warmer weather of spring and summer. Keep the worm bin moist by adding a range of fruit and vegetables rather than adding extra water. Cover the bin with a worm blanket and keep the lid on to protect the worms.
Feeding Worms Tomatoes | Summary
It is safe to feed composting worms including red wigglers tomatoes. You can add fresh, rotting, moldy or even cooked tomatoes to the bin. Always make sure that the tomatoes are cool and do not have excess added salt. Cover them with mulch and a worm blanket and your worms will feel safe to eat them quick.
Happy worm farming.
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.