Are Potato peelings really bad?

jasdipMay 14, 2008

It concerns me to see a number of posts both in the past, and perhaps some fairly current saying that potato peelings are not good for the worms.

Since they are the easiest veggie waste, I would like some firm evidence. I feed mine peelings regularly, after freezing to break them down, and they are digested by the lads, along with the broccoli, carrots, leafy greens etc.

Sherry

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utahvermie(5)

Feed away with no fear.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:56PM
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betho

From what I understand it isn't that they are BAD, just not a favorite and take a lot longer for the worms to eat them.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 3:49PM
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utahvermie(5)

It's not a matter of liking them, it just takes longer for the peelings to start to decompose and therefore generate the microbial life that the worms actually eat.
To help this, just cut them up to smaller pieces. They'll ride around in the bin for a while and then, Boom! the soften and are gone.
You'll start finding naked potato skins throughout the bin and then they will soon disappear as well.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 5:20PM
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jasdip

Thanks guys.
I'll continue to feed them as usual, but this is what I read from a post 3 years ago. I wonder why she made this comment? "Did you feed them lots of potato peels? Potato peelings are poisonous to worms. In an outdoor compost pile, worms can escape to eat other garbage, but in an enclosed bin, you could kill off your woms this way. I know from experience that this could be what happened."

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:12PM
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leearnold(z5 In.)

Sounds like someone speaking without REALLY knowing what they are talking about.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 7:20PM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

someone probably 'generalized' the dangers of solenine in green potatos .... folks frequently put the wrong 'cause' with an unwanted 'result' when it comes to worming, mostly because they don't understand the complete process very well, including decomposition and nutrient cycling

there is NO decomposable organic material that will kill worms, but a combination or volume of anything that will heat up can be detrimental

Bill

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:43PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Did you notice in that old thread that a number of others said they didn't have any problem with potato peels?

In a public forum like this, you have got to sort through things. Some is gold and some is bs. I like to go with the consensus, but I totally ignore everything that a few regular posters say.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 1:14AM
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jasdip

Oh yes, I did read all the posts Karchita. I know that the positive far outweighs negative food experiences. That is why in my original post I asked for proof and firm evidence, when people say things like poisonous food etc. with such conviction.

I just continue to feed them everything; sometimes with not so good results :( and do what works best with my herd.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 10:19AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Yes, we are all sorta finding our own way with herd management, and it is wonderful to share experiences here.

Personally, I thought that maybe the problem with potato peels, if there truly is one, could be if someone added too many at once. But that can cause problems no matter what the food. They also break down slowly, but that is not a problem as far as I can see.

That poster has never explained or supported her claim, so that's the sort of comment I just shrug off.

Happy worming!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 11:50AM
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mataka4

Jasdip, I've recently had a 10LBS bag of potatoes that went bad on me, so I just cut them up into small pieces, froze, thawed and tossed them into my 4 X 18G bins and they were gone within a week with no ill effects.

Like karchita said, that poster had nothing to support their claim, so if I were you, I would go ahead and add those potato skins, but you may want to freeze them first, otherwise you'll have all kinds of new potatoes sprouting. :-)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 1:31PM
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jasdip

Hi Mataka. I freeze all my food prior to feeding, both for storage, and to keep the fruit flies at bay. This really helps the potato peelings disappear, as it does the cabbage, broccoli and other hardstuffs.

Sherry (---waving---to a fellow Canuck)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 3:53PM
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mataka4

Hi Jasdip. I just noticed that you already freeze your scraps in your first post (Ooops!). But you're right, freezing helps to keep the fruit flies at bay and things break down much faster, especially with the warmer weather.

mataka4 (---waving back---to a fellow Canuck);-)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 12:02PM
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Nate_B(ATL)

I wouldn't trust a single anecdote as good evidence of something. I am not aware of any controlled scientific study that says potato peels are poisonous to worms. I think she probably just came to that conclusion because her worms happened to all die and, looking for an explanation, reasoned that it must have been the potato peelings since maybe she had just recently started feeding them to the worms. Coincidence does not equal correlation. And correlation does not equal causation. This is how people fall for "alternative" medicine and other forms of quackery and pseudoscience.

If anyone knows of any controlled study published in a reputable scientific journal that has found potato peels to be poisonous to worms, and can cite the study, feel free to correct me on this.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 3:41PM
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medontdo(8)

do you all freeze because everything gets softer faster? ( i'm such a newbie to this!! LOL ) wouldn't it be easier to just put the tater peelings thru the food processor or is that defeating the process?? on this i'm not sure and do not follow. so please tell me :'))

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 11:26PM
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jasdip

Hi medontdo,
I have a bit of a ritual. I gather all my food scraps..potato peelings, carrots, lettuce cores, broccoli, cabbage cores, (everything except onions) in my big plastic container that you buy Spring Mix, Baby Spinach, etc in. When it's full, I run everything thru the food processor. Not to mush, just to chop.

I then portion everything out into bags and freeze. Freezing works for me because a) it wards off fruit flies (my number 1 reason), and b) it helps break the food down faster. I like the worms to eat fast, as I have a lot of food for them. I have a lot of food in my freezer now. It's also a ready food source if I don't have much one week.

I take 1 or 2 bags out of the freezer, thaw in a colander all day, and put in my Folgers coffee container with some coffee grounds for a couple of days to soften and break down further. This really works for me.

Living in Canada, our milk comes in heavy-duty plastic bags and the 1-litre bags are perfect for individual servings, and then put into the outer 4-litre bag for storing in the freezer. (I've confused the heck out of you Stateside people on this last comment, I'm sure) LOL

Sherry

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 5:49PM
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