Do Worms Eat Radishes? (Do Earthworms Also Eat Radish Leaves?)

Radishes are a particularly interesting food, as they really are not to everyone’s taste. Some people tend to find the taste to be too strong, even spicy. But what about earthworms?

You may find yourself wondering whether or not radishes are OK for worms to eat, and that is a valid question.

The bottom line is yes, worms do eat radishes. Worms consume almost any organic decaying matter. They will gratefully accept any kitchen scraps that you have laying around, from banana peels, to vegetable peels, and yes, even radishes. 

Although it is generally advised to not put chillis and other spicy foods in compost bins as they could be damaging to your worms, radishes are perfectly fine. Just be careful on serving up anything tainted.

How do you keep worms out of radishes?

One common problem for many gardeners is insects eating through, damaging and/or killing what is growing in the garden. Many of us have lost new growths and plants to all kinds of garden pests.

This is particularly irritating if you are growing crops of food, either in a small area of a garden or allotment, or on a larger scale. 

A big concern for most is worms eating their way through whatever fruit or vegetable has been planted.  Radishes, in fact, are sure to get more attention than most.

But, are worms really to blame?

People tend to make the mistake of believing that all worms are the same and it must be a general soil worm that you can spot in your garden who must be at fault. This is not the case. 

Earthworms consume all kinds of natural decaying matter, such as decaying fruit and dead roots.  However, they do not consume anything that is alive and prospering. 

The decaying material that a worm eats becomes worm castings ( i.e. worm poop ).

Worm castings are very rich and they nourish the soil that feeds your vegetation, helping them grow better. 

So, if earthworms aren’t the ones to blame, then who exactly is eating your radishes? 

Unfortunately… it’s maggots eating your radishes.

Cabbage root maggots are larvae left by adult flies that were attracted to organic material.

The flies lay their eggs in the soil, meaning that the eggs hatch in the ground and work through the organic material within in order to grow. 

Being that they are beneath the soil and not easy to locate at all times, cabbage root maggots may seem like a problem that you can do nothing about. Thankfully, this is not the case. 

We do not recommend using pesticides.

Chances are that the problem will not be solved and you run the risk of corrupting your food and the soil that surrounds it, not to mention killing some of the other insects that will only help your crop to grow. 

There is a relatively easy and efficient solution to this issue. 

  • Simply covering the radish patch with row cover will do the trick. 
  • Row cover is a low cost, organic way of protecting your vegetation, without damaging any life forms surrounding your radishes. 
  • If the flies have nowhere to land on and nowhere to lay their eggs near your radishes, then there is no way for the larvae to grow there, thus protecting your radishes. 
  • Some choose to plant other vegetation around the radishes, such as herbs like mint and thyme. 
  • This can be a good solution providing that you have enough herbs to surround your crop and that there truly is nowhere for the flies to want to access the soil. 

Do worms eat radish leaves?

Yes, worms do eat radish leaves. Radish leaves are great worm food, in fact – and if they could say thanks, they would.

The tops of radish plants can be very beneficial in your worm pile. Definitely more so than in a regular rubbish bin!

We tend to always throw them away, along with a list of other things, such as coffee grounds, without even thinking of how useful they could be somewhere else, when in fact they are perfect things to feed to your worms.

Just make sure that you throw the leaves away as is. If you add any spices or anything non organic to your compost, then your worms may not fare well at all!

If you’d like to know more about the best food that you can leave your worms to eat in your bin – from vegetables to other scraps – take time to read through our further guides.