Earthworms are tireless recyclers. A pound of red wigglers can eat a half-pound of kitchen waste every day, and they can do it seven days a week. As they eat, the worms leave tiny droppings behind them, called castings, turning scraps into compost more efficiently than any compost pile or bin. They also make more worms as they go. As long as conditions are right, they’ll double their numbers approximately once every 90 days. Other types of earthworms will also convert scraps into compost, but most can’t keep up with red wigglers.
For worms living in a bin, add food two or three times each week and bury it just under the surface. Outside, food such as coffee grounds and eggshells can be added around the edges of the compost pile or other places where worms congregate. While earthworms will generally devour almost any kind of plant material without any preparation on your part, you must finely crush eggshells or the worms can’t eat them. Feed eggshells and plant material only; never give captive worms meat or dairy, since they’re unlikely to eat these -- and the odors will attract ants, rodents and other pests.
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images