Khoslas Applied Research Foundation



Vermicomposting, or worm composting, turns kitchen scraps and other green waste into a rich, dark soil that smells like earth and feels like magic. Made of almost pure worm castings, it’s a sort of super compost. Not only is it rich in nutrients but it’s also loaded with the microorganisms that create and maintain healthy soil.

Following benefits of vermicompost are :

  • provides nutrients to the soil
  • increases the soil’s ability to hold nutrients in a plant-available form
  • improves the soil structure
  • improves the aeration and internal drainage of heavy clay soils
  • increases the water holding ability of sandy soils
  • provides numerous beneficial bacteria


1. Choosing A Location

Since worms are quite sensitive to both light and noise, a corner of the basement often works best for their home. They thrive at temperatures between about 55°-77°F (13°-25°C) which means that most basements should fit the bill.

2. Bedding

To give your worms a good home, you need the proper bedding that will take up anywhere from one-third to one-half of your bin. Keep in mind they like water and their bedding should be about 75 percent water. Make bedding out of strips of newspaper or shredded grocery bags, cardboard, or egg cartons, (no glossy paper), composted manure, old leaves, coconut coir, or a mixture of any of these substances. Just be sure that the material is clean and non-toxic as the worms will eat the bedding as well as the table scraps you feed them.

3. Introducing the Worms

When the bin and bedding are in place, dig a shallow depression in the bedding, and place the worms in it. Then leave them, with the lid off or askew and a low light on overhead. The light will encourage them to burrow into the bedding. Leave the worms to acclimate for a week or so before feeding them.

4. What To Feed

It’s easy to avoid problems if you supply your worms with the right waste. Fruit scraps, vegetable peels, tea bags, and coffee grounds are all good.

5. Moisture/ Drainage

For worms, moisture is essential to the most basic function of life, breathing. Lacking lungs, worms “breathe” through their skins, something that is only possible in a moist environment. Their bedding should therefore be damp.

6. Harvesting Castings

Once the contents of your bin have turned to worm castings — brown, earth-looking stuff — it’s time to harvest the castings and give your worms new bedding. Worm castings can be harvested any time from every two-and-a-half months to every six months, depending on how many worms you have and how much food you’ve been giving them.

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