Let’s face it: mushrooms aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many of us will have the experience of having to throw half a packet away because not everyone wants them and they do tend to grow mold relatively quickly.
Worm bins and worm compost piles have shown to be a great solution for dealing with our organic waste, so do worms like mushrooms?
The answer is, yes, worms love to eat mushrooms.
In nature, worms eat all kinds of decaying matter and organic material, including bacteria, fungi and indeed mushrooms. So, your Sunday morning English breakfast mushrooms will not go to waste, even if some of the family won’t eat them! Your worms will have you covered and they will love their special treat.
Can worms eat poisonous mushrooms?
For those who enjoy cultivating food in the wild, we are told to always be wary of mushrooms. Mushrooms can grow nearly anywhere, especially in forests.
From little groups of small mushrooms to seemingly massive singular mushrooms, they can look very appetizing.
Sadly, we all know that eating just any mushroom could be a very dangerous, even deadly endeavor!
It is always wise to check either online, in a book or even better, with an expert before trying to consume just any mushroom, but what about earthworms?
You may find yourself wondering if you could feed the mushrooms that you find on your walks or from your yard waste, to the worms in your worm bin.
You can of course feed the mushrooms that would buy in a supermarket to your worms, and yes, you can also feed the mushrooms you find in the wild to your little friends too.
The mushrooms, even if they are poisonous to us, will not affect the worms in your worm composting bin.
In a study conducted by the Imperial College of London, they found that the reason for this is that earthworms have a suit of neutralizing molecules in their gut which renders many polyphenols, poisons and toxins harmless to the worm.
In fact, they will likely love them. They really do vacuum up all kinds of fruits and vegetables, too!
The worms in your compost bin will consume all of the decaying matter from the organic materials that you put in it.
This does indeed include the decaying matter that comes from the poisonous (or not) mushrooms.
Of course, just as with us humans, too much of anything can be a bad thing. A balanced diet is a must. If it seems like you are giving your worms too much fungi, scale things back a little.
Can you grow mushrooms in a worm farm?
Yes, you can grow mushrooms in a worm farm. In fact, it may naturally happen anyway. Get growing that fungi!
Mushrooms grow from a fungus called Mycelium.
Some have found that the best way to encourage mushroom growth in a worm bin is with manure.
Manure is a wonderful addition to any compost bin (but be careful where it has come from and what the animal was eating or medicated with – worming medications are a death sentence for our little buddies!) and, if used as the primary bedding in your worm bin, can help bring fungi back time and time again.
Outdoor worm bins have also been known to be more likely to grow mushrooms than indoor ones, due to the difference in environment.
If you have found yourself in the unique position of having many mushrooms in your worm farm then do not worry, it is not necessarily a bad thing.
If they truly are taking over the bin, then it may be time to harvest some of them and turn over the bin a few times.
Your red wigglers will happily eat the decaying matter that will come from the mushrooms, but you may need to add a different type of bedding and different organic materials in order to ensure that your worms are in a perfect environment.
The next obvious question about these mushrooms is…
Are mushrooms growing in worm farms edible for humans?
Depending on the mushroom, the answer can be yes, but you’re taking a chance if you don’t know your mushrooms.
Some have found that their worm farms can provide them with edible mushrooms for months on end, whilst others have not had as much luck.
Being that there are so many different kinds of mushrooms, including the various types that can grow in a worm farm, it is always wise to check various resources before consuming any mushroom.
The easiest way to discover if you can eat a mushroom, even if you don’t recognize it, is by using Google Lens to take a picture of it and see if it matches images on Google’s database.
You’ll then be able to find information on whether your particular mushroom is edible, and if it is, would you even want to eat it?
You will naturally want to feed your worms with food and scraps that will keep them healthy and happy
It is always wise to research the food you have in mind, and the effects that it could have on the worms and/or your compost.
Think your worms are gobbling up a lot of your garden or eating your soil?
One thing’s for sure – an earthworm can actually help to keep your plants and garden keep well and healthy. If you would like more good advice on how to use a bin to cultivate worms, take a look at our other guides and see how you get on.