Pineapple is a delicious fruit, but if you’ve ever eaten it with chapped lips, you know the acidity and enzymes can burn a bit. When given a fresh pineapple to work through, you will be left with peels and scraps. Should you put them in a compost pile or feed them to the worms?
Worm farms are a great way to dispose of food scraps as they can increase agricultural yields and make a cleaner planet. Even better than traditional composting, worm farms are fast and versatile. I find it amazing how quickly those little critters can turn table waste into high-quality soil additives.
But worms are not machines, and they thrive in a delicate environment. Some food and kitchen waste are not ideal for worms to ingest. It is possible for the materials we add to the compost pile and worm bins to change the pH and negatively affect our worms. What do you need to know about worms, pineapples, and composting?
Is Pineapple Safe for Worms?
It is completely safe for worms to eat pineapple with other food scraps. The plant materials and the fruit can all be absorbed by worms. Just like any other high moisture plant or kitchen scrap added to a compost pile, plenty of brown materials should be added to help the worms, and the composting process works better.
Pineapple has bromelain, which is a group of enzymes responsible for lowering pH. It is mistakenly thought to act like citric acid in worms and compost piles. However, it has not been found to adversely affect worms like citric acid from citrus fruits.
Tropical fruits like pineapple plants make a good food source for worms and will break down into soil quickly if the worms are given water and other food. White lime can help raise the pH and offset any negative effects of pineapple on the worms. Lime is safe for worms to digest.
Plenty of bedding needs to be added on top of the pineapple to encourage the worms to come up and eat it. Water can provide moisture for the worms and will keep the bedding from wicking the water out of the soil. Eventually, the bedding will become food for the worms and work into the soil.
There are plenty of nutrients that bacteria and worms love to eat in pineapple. But use caution when adding it for the first time. Pineapple peels and fruits have different levels of acidity and can be added together and balanced with other food and brown material.
Pineapple skins and pineapple compost can be added to worm bins to speed up the composting process. Entire full-sized pineapples, or a pineapple bad to eat, can be used to make organic fertilizer or used in compost tea preparations. There are endless composting possibilities for pineapple.
Types of Pineapple That Can Be Feed to Worms
Pineapple plant parts, including the leaves and stems, can be put in worm farms. Adding plenty of water and other food materials are needed steps to help the worms eat these plant parts.
Pineapple skin is an excellent source of food for worms too. It has less moisture than the parts of the plant and can be fed with other brown material. Water can be added to the soil and bedding to unlock more nutrients.
Handfuls of pineapple plant fruit can also be fed to worms. If you let it lose some moisture before adding it to the worm bin, that can help reduce the pH-changing enzymes. The enzymes and lost moisture can be replaced with water and will encourage your worms to chow down faster. Add a handful of white lime if using a whole pineapple in the bin.
Canned pineapple, not fit for human consumption or pineapple bad to eat, can also be fed to worms. It is important to drain all the juice before adding the pineapple chunks to the worm bin. You will also want a good mixture of tree bark and plenty of bedding. Add more moisture to help the bacteria start to multiply to feed the worms.
Food Worms Shouldn’t Eat
Although handfuls of pineapple are largely safe for worms, there are plenty of food worms shouldn’t eat. Worms, pineapples, and compost are safe, While other scraps can slow down your worm’s digestion and create an ecological effect in the soil that makes it hard for nutrients to be released.
|Food||What’s Bad||Why It’s Bad|
|Lemons, limes, Oranges||Citric Acid||Lowers pH and hurts the worm’s digestion|
|Onions and Garlic||Antimicrobial properties||Kills the bacteria in the soil that worms eat|
|Meats, Fats, and animal parts||Oil and Stench||Attracts animals and plant pests to worm bins|
- Lemons, Limes, and Oranges – Citric acid, like the acidity in pineapple, will lower the pH quickly killing off bacteria in the soil and creating a bad mixture of soil. It can attract vinegar flies and needs to be prevented with white lime. Add extra bedding to cover the soil and prevent pest problems.
- Onions and Garlic – Both onions and garlic have strong antimicrobial properties. When cut and returned to the compost, it can prevent bacteria from growing and give nutrients to the worms. Taking the extra step to only add these to composts and not worm bins can help your food scraps get broken down faster.
- Meats, Fats, and Animal Parts – Worm farms are often not secured tightly, and other than a worm blanket or lid, there isn’t much-keeping pests out. Adding these materials to your worm bins or compost mixture can result in stinky soil and unwanted pests. Adding coffee grounds can help cover up the smell if some of these food scraps were added accidentally.
How to Prepare Pineapple for Worm Farms
Worms can eat pretty much anything, but not all food will be beneficial for your worm farm or soil texture. Banana peels, potato peels, coffee grounds, and most brown materials can be made into a compost mixture and fed to worms with no need for caution.
However, other foods, like ones high in moisture or ones that contain enzymes like acidic pineapples, may need a few steps of preparation. Here is the best way to prepare pineapple for your worms for the best fertilizer for plants.
- Slice the chunk of pineapple into pieces and add to the worm bins. Making it smaller increases the surface area the bacteria and worms have to interact with. Use caution not to cut yourself, and try to prevent any canned pineapple residue return from adding sugar to your worm bin.
- Add brown material and other food scraps like bananas and coffee grounds to balance the nitrogen and carbon ratio.
- Water the materials to get the moisture levels right and make sure the humidity in the box will breed bacteria. Too much moisture can drown the worms, as can compact soil.
- Add lime to the food scraps. White lime can raise the pH and keep the worms happy. There are no harmful side effects of worms eating small amounts of lime powder.
- Cover the chunks of pineapple and scraps with bedding. Make sure all banana and pineapple scraps are buried under cardboard or worm blanket bedding. Add extra moisture to the top of the bedding for full water penetration.