End of the year harvest (fall 2006) from my tomato bed. I collected even MORE rotten ones, which went straight into my outdoor worm bin.
This post was inspired by a interesting reader discussion that seems to have sprung up on one of my recent blog posts (see: Apartment Vermicomposting – Revisted). One of the topics being discussed is that of tomatoes as worm food – i.e. should they be fed to your worms or not?
Tomatoes are a water-rich, acidic food item so some caution is certainly warranted. I’ve personally used them as worm food with great success – in my experience, worms seem to gravitate towards the moist, rotting flesh of tomato, the same way they would with various types of melon.
As mentioned in the caption above, in fall of 2006 when I was cleaning up my tomato bed I collected a huge quantity of leftover tomatoes (not the ones in the upper picture – those were eaten) and added them to my big outdoor worm bin. [ Just as an side – if you are wondering why so many tomatoes were still green, it is because they were started very late that year].
I also added ALL the tomato plant waste (pictured to the right), after chopping it up quite a bit. Not too surprisingly, the bin did heat up quite a bit, but neither that nor the large amount of tomato waste seemed to harm the worm population (not noticeably anyway).
Incidentally, it was the addition of all this material that led to the growth of my “compost bin tomatoes” last summer.
By the way, if you are concerned about the acidity of tomatoes, you might try adding crushed egg shells to your bins to provide some extra buffering capacity. Adding lime is an option as well, but keep in mind that composting worms generally prefer a somewhat acidic pH anyway, so you definitely don’t want to go overboard with this.
Anyway – just my 2 cents (not to be taken as ‘gospel’ by any means)! I would definitely be interested to hear about any negative experiences people have had with tomatoes.
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