Coffee Grinds & Worms

johncoaty(9)October 22, 2007

Can red worms live on just coffee grinds and horse manure?

I use newspaper and cardboard for bedding,my bed is outdoors and I also have some dried crushed leaves in the bedding.Im trying to get rid of a ant problem by not feeding kitchen scrapes any more.

Thanks in advance for any info on this subject.

John R

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wfike(8, Atlanta, Ga.)

They eat the cardboard and newspaper as much as the horse manure. They dont have to have the coffee. Crushed leaves work also. Those four items would make great bedding with the correct amount of moisture.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks wfike, but Im still wondering if the coffee grinds would benefit the worm population? Im also interrested in knowing if Tobacco, I smoke a cigar now and then, and was thinking of breaking up the old stubs and adding to the bedding, could this harm the worms? I use to make Tobacco Tea and use it on my garden plants to control insects.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wfike(8, Atlanta, Ga.)

The cigars will kill the worms right away. the poison is called nicotine and will get them quick. I really don't think that they get much from the coffee.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks again wfike you saved me a lot of greef.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

keep the tobacco away from your worms.

Coffee grounds are great though not necessary. Coffee grounds are also great directly in your garden though so it is up to you if you want them in your worm castings or directly in your garden. One nice thing about coffee grounds is that they already look like nice dirt and hence will help your castings look like nice dirt quicker.

To keep ants out of your bin. I don't know that not putting kitchen scraps in will keep ants out. If your bin is up on legs, then the easiest way to keep ants out is to put each leg in a tray, dish or can of water. The ants can't cross the water to get up the leg. It is a good idea to put a bit of a mosquito dunk in the water.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

If the contents of your bin are damp, you won't have ants. Ants only like it if it's dry. I don't think lack of food scraps will deter them. I find hundreds of ants in dry piles of leaves in my yard that have sat there for awhile. They also get into my outdoor compost piles if they've sat there for quite awhile and have dried out. I don't put food scraps in my outdoor piles - food scraps go in my worm bins.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


This is an area in which I am interested. I am collecting just over 3,000 lbs of coffee grounds per month right now.

I just mixed about 80 bags of shredded paper with 50,000 lbs of horse manure over a 4,000 square foot area.

I also spread my first two rows of shredded paper with coffee grounds (6 bags of shredded paper) - probably a couple hundred pounds of coffee in each row.

I plan to set up a test bed with (1) shredded paper and horse manure, (2) shredded paper and coffee grounds, (3) shredded paper, coffee grounds and horse manure.

I am planning on counting worms to see which composition grows the most worms. I may have the soil tested after that to determine the quality of the soil.

I will have to wait until it gets a little warmer before adding my worms to the beds. Right now, overnight temperatures are about 12 degrees F.

There's not a lot of information on the internet using primarily coffee grounds for worms.

(The picture is the first day of shredded paper with horse manure beds.)

- Paul

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If all that horse manure is fresh and has de-worming medicine in it which is normally given to horses (to kill worms), then you won't be seeing any worms in your beds.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow Paul, that a LOT of wormbeds! I would love to hear more about what you are doing and how you are doing it. How deep are the beds, are you precomposting, what is your initial stocking rate, do you cover the beds, are you going to feed or just do batches ect.???? Please share.

I vermicompost outdoors in smaller windrows using fresh horse manure mostly. I have never heard of anyone having trouble due to de-wormer. It dissipates fairly quickly. My horse manure supply has decreased (we now have a smaller pony) so last month I collected about 300lbs of UCG and added to my beds. The worms are in it but seem to like manure better. I have not used paper.

Good luck! Pete

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DWD2(10a, Sunset 17)

John, Paul et al. You may enjoy reading April Vigardt's master thesis on coffee vermicompost. Coffee grounds seem to be a good food source for worms.

Here is a link that might be useful: coffee vermicompost thesis

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I look forward to reading the MS thesis. I can't seem to get it to load on my android phone so will have to wait until tonight.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to say that reading this thesis will be very helpful to me as I prepare for gardening season. Gotta start saving a lot of coffee grounds!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 1:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I add horse manure and shavings to my garden. I keep up with when horses are wormed and do not use the manure from the first 8 days after worming.. i read not to use it for 7 days and decided to wait the extra day. so far that has worked.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DWD2: Your links to the latest ongoing research should no doubt be a valuable addition to this forum. This is one way we learn. Your links are a great addition to the board. We have not had that type of thing lately.

Note there are also I think on this forum expert worm farm owners who no doubt know a thing or two about worms. We are very lucky to have them participate and answer our questions.

There are also on this forum what I think of as experts of the home grown variety who have vermicomposting on the mind and are possibly the inventors of the next cool thing in vermicomposting. This includes those with waaaay cool ideas on vermicompost tea brewing and next years newest, bestest, worm bin designs.

Worms are way cool. Welcome.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DWD2(10a, Sunset 17)

equinoxequinox, Thanks! Hopefully, all the reading & collecting of technical articles I did before starting my worm bins can be shared & helpful.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 2:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does April know her MS thesis is being referenced in GW discussions? If not she'd probably get a kick out of it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

John, this rules!
I'd love to be able to have a setup like this. I think my city dwelling neighbors wouldn't be very happy if I setup horse manure windrows in the back yard though. Please post your findings.
I'm just getting started and am trying a mix of spent beer grain, coffee, shredded paper, and one secret ingredient that I'm not gonna release until I know if it works.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

How about coffee bean chaff? I recently found a coffee roaster here who gives out free chaff, grinds, and burlap weekly. I have a single tote bin. Is the chaff good bedding for them?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I first started, a local coffee roaster gave me a bucket of worms from his huge (approx. 12'x40') wormbed. He said he feeds chaff to his herd, along with lots of scraps from his bakery. He gives out free burlap sacks, but not chaff. I would only try a handful in the corner with a small bin and see how it goes..

Worms absolutely love burlap. In the past I have used it as a bin topper. For a single tote bin, just fold up the sack and lay it on your bin. It helps keep things dark and damp on top, allows great air movement, and reduces flying critters. If you wet burlap first, and then lay it over the bin, worms will move right on up into the layers and start having a party. It takes a few months but eventually it breaks down and gets consumed.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I suspect your wet burlap idea would help all types of bins even worm inn which do not mention a covering as other bins sometimes do. Now I just need some free burlap to fall into my life.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anyone lucky enough to have access to horse manure will be an incredibly successful worm farmer.

Equine manure is THE best bedding and THE best food for worms. (I think God made horses to produce worm food). Never put it into bins while fresh...any dewormer meds in it will dissipate if the manure is isolated/dried for a couple of weeks or so.

The 25 tons of manure situation will be "worm-worthy" after it lays out there smelling like horsesh*t after each rainy day for a few weeks.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Well, for an worms seemed to love the coffee bean chaff. I fed it along with some strawberries, and it disappeared in a hurry. Today only found one small bunch of it--clumped together and rather dry, so I don't think they like the dry. I figured the dry chaff would balance the wet strawberry goo.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Types of worms
I imagine this topic has been discussed at length in...
Wierd goings on
2 bins. One has vent holes along the sides the other...
Survivability of worm eggs.
I had a lidded bucket of vermicompost sitting outside...
best VC recipe to start plants in greenhouse?
I'm going to start seedlings in a high tunnel and was...
I Still Need Help For My Kitchen
The Garden Tower Project would seem to be of interest...
Sponsored Products
Building Block
$74.99 | Dot & Bo
Cattelan Italia | Monaco Console Table, 70-Inch
Nakita Coffee Table
Monarch Specialties 3834 Bombay Chest in Zebra Transitional
Beyond Stores
Circulon 'Circles' Capri Turqouise Enameled Stainless Steel 2-quart Tea Kettle
Fiesta Scarlet Saucer 6 in. - Set of 4 - HPJC855
$23.96 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™