Frequently Asked Questions

This is a method of establishing a community of compositing worms and recycling organic waste and having it converted into the best natural fertiliser. 

  • Setting up a worm farm doesn’t require that much space thus anyone can own a worm farm even in apartment houses.
  • It only needs about 10 mins per week on maintenance and it can be setup indoors or outdoors, it’s all up to you. Worm farms are odour free which means your worm farm will not produce bad smells.
  • It’s a great way of recycling household waste into a great fertiliser helping in a more clean environment.
  • Your worm farm will help in reducing global warming because worm farms release no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Owning a worm farm you will also be producing worm tea (the liquid worm castings) which is an organic fertilizer and natural pest repellent as well as your own compost

Before you start with the preparation of the bedding and settling your worms in you would need to find an area in your garden or premises where you would like to locate your worm farm. Worms like to be located in a cool and shady area that does not get direct sunlight. You can place them under a tree outside, by your back door near the kitchen as you will be placing your kitchen scraps in often. Inside, the worms can be placed on a balcony, laundry room or garage. The wonderful thing about worm farming is that the bin does not stink and can easily be kept inside.

Now that you have purchased your worm farm you will need to prepare the bedding to put your composting worms in. Worm bedding will absorb and holds moisture while allowing oxygen to penetrate the bedding.

Examples of worm bedding:

  • Coco Coir, Newspaper / Cardboard
  • Leaves
  • Well-aged manure, Straw or Hay
  • Select worm bedding material – the best is to combine a mixture of the above and shred the newspaper and cardboard into strips.

Break up the coco coir and soak all material in a container for at least an hour before placing worms in the bin (if you are using borehole/river water). Should you be using municipality water, let the bedding soak for 12 hours or overnight. Now that the bedding is ready, start by placing the bedding in the middle tray of the worm farm. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the worm bedding. The worm bedding should be as moist as a squeezed-out sponge and not too wet.
The worm bedding should be staked about 7cm in depth

You have found the right place for your worm farm and prepared the bedding and put it in the middle tray. You would now add your worms to the top of the worm bedding in the second tray. The worms will automatically burrow downwards into the bedding as they do not like the light and will start feeding.

Do not feed your worms for a day or two so to give them some time to settle in.
Remember the worm bedding that you have prepared is food for the worms so give them some time to get used to their new environment.

You can put the top tray aside for a time as this you will only use a little later on once the two trays will meet each other. You will feed the middle tray till it reaches the top tray. Once they meet start putting the food in the top tray. The worms will migrate upwards and follow the food.

Start adding food in small quantities at first on top of the worm bedding. Increase feeding with time. Place the worm food on top of the bedding and don’t overfeed.
The Contents of the Bin should always be moist, if it is too dry add some water and avoid fresh tap water (chlorine).
Under the right conditions, your worms will not leave your bin. Worms are top feeders and will always migrate upwards to follow the food supply.

For the first few weeks, open the Worm Farm once a day to check if all is in order. (a healthy worm farm should never smell bad).
The excess liquid of your worm bin will be at your bottom part of the worm farm (with Tap) and can be harvested as Worm tea (liquid plant food)

A properly functioning worm farm should never smell, apart from a sweet smell of soil. If you notice a bad smell it is most likely from rotting food – when there is more food than the worms can eat it will start to rot, and the worm farm becomes anaerobic and releases nasty gasses.

Once every week, pour about five litres of fresh water into the Top Working Tray, which will flood down through the lower trays, ensuring the entire worm farm remains very moist. The sudden ‘flood’ will not harm the worms. Adding water is especially important in the hotter months of the year.


Worms breathe through their skins and therefore must have a moist environment in which to live. If a worm’s skin dries out it will die. The bedding must be able to absorb and retain water fairly well if the worms are to thrive.

Proper moisture

The moisture content of at least 70%. The worms do not like dry conditions and can die quickly.

Correct amount and type of food. Worms will half their body weight per day. 

Refer to feeding worms of what can be fed and what is not allowed.

Sufficient aeration

Turn the bedding once weekly this will ensure better aeration in the bedding and encourage breeding.

Maintaining an appropriate temperature range

Worms do not like to get too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature is 15 to 30 degrees. 

Suitable pH levels: Worms can tolerate a pH range between 5 and 9. The ideal pH range is 7.

Sufficient space

Worms will breed up the capacity of the bin size and will slow down / stop breeding once the bin is overpopulated. You could also split the bin population and start a new bin this will encourage the bin to start breeding again

Feed your worms only as much as they can eat. The worms will take a little time to get going, so it’s best to feed them slowly first and then increase the food. If your worm farm goes smelly you are most likely overfeeding your worms. If smelly, stop feeding for a few days and mix the food scraps into the soil and castings.

For best results, chop up food scraps as small as possible before feeding them to worms. Worms do not have teeth so they prefer their food in smaller pieces, however, once large pieces become softer the worms will consume the food.  

Worms like a varied diet—they like to have a mixture of fruit and vegetables and carbon-containing material such s paper, cardboard and leaves.

When feeding the worms, feed half the worms tray per feeding session. Feeding only a portion of the bed at a time allows the worms to move to a cooler section of the bed if the food begins to heat up. The worms must consume the majority of the food in the portion of the bed we are feeding before we feed that section again.  

Food scraps need to break down and become soft first before your worms can digest them, this can take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. If your worms stop eating it is likely that they do not like the food that you are feeding them. Worms will also reduce the amount of food they consume in lower temperatures or if the worm farm is too wet.

What can you feed your worms:

  • Fruit: Apples, pears, banana peels, strawberries, peaches, grapes, and all melons
  • Vegetables: beans, cabbage, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, all greens, corn, corncobs and squash 
  • Cereals and grains: oatmeal, pasta, rice, non-sugared breakfast cereals, cornmeal, pancakes
  • Coffee filter paper, tea bags, eggshells, dead flowers
  • Newspaper (no shiny / coated paper), cardboard, paper egg cartons, leaves

What not to feed worms:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish – can attract rats to the worm farm
  • Dairy, Cheese and Milk
  • Sweets, potato chips and oil – will attract ants to the bin
  • Oranges, lemons and limes – will make the bin too citrus and could be toxic to the worms

Feed only one side of your worm farm for two weeks before harvesting your vericompost. The worms will move to where the food is, which will ensure that most of the worms will move to the other side. Once the worm farm is full, On a sunny day, empty the contents of the worm farm on a table or board. Avoid very hot days and never leave your worms exposed to the sun as they can die very quickly.

Push all worm castings together into the shape of a cone and wait for 10 Minutes, then scrap off the surface of the cone worm castings and worm compost till you reach the worms which are hiding from the sun. Give the worms 10 minutes to dig deeper into the soil to escape from the sun. Remove more castings till you reach the worms again.

Repeat these steps till all the castings are separated from the worms. Now place app 10 cm of castings on top of the drain in your Worm Farm, place the worms on some food at the top and restart your worm bin.
Now that the worms have been separated from the worm castings and returned to the worm farm, you can now use your vericompost in your garden and enjoy the rich black gold your worms have composted for you.


Ants for the most part pose no threat to the worm bin environment. A few scouting ants here and they’re not an issue but you know that scouts can bring a slew of others competing for the food. So, be on the lookout for scouts.
Solution: A preventive measure you can take on bins inside or out (especially the stackable ones) is to put the legs of the bin into bowls of water. This serves as a mote. Either the ants will drown or avoid the water altogether.


At first glance, you may mistake these arthropods for a worm because of their long segmented brownish body. They mainly feed on decaying matter but are also known to feed on small insects, other arthropods, and yes, earthworms.
Solution: If you see any, it’s a good idea to pull them out.

Red Mites 

Different types of mites can appear on a worm farm, but only one type is classified as a pest, this is the red mites. White and brown mites compete with the worms for food and can thus have some economic impact, but red mites are parasitic on the worms. They suck blood or body fluid from worms and they can also suck fluid from cocoons.
Solution: Reduce the moisture in the worm farm and make sure the ph stays neutral.


Worms are moles’ natural food, so if a mole gets access to your worm bed, you can lose a lot of worms very quickly. You will only have this problem if you have worm beds in your garden.
Solution: Be sure your worm habitat if directly on the ground has a bottom to it like wood, concrete, or metal screening.

Accordion Content

Vermicompost is the recycling of Organic Waste Products with the help of a special kind of Worms. These worms can eat half their weight a day and can turn organic waste into natural, hygienic and odorless castings which can be used to fertilize and recondition the soil.

Vermicompost is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast
Worm farms are more efficient at breaking down foods. You may need to wait only 2-3 months to harvest your worm castings.

The castings can be added to regular compost – about 25 percent – and used to build up beds. Or spread them around plants and dig in slightly. Sprinkle castings on potted plants and over garden beds. A little goes a long way.
Worm castings won’t burn through the roots of your plants and flowers if you use too much and are great at retaining water.

Composting worms that we use are called Eisenia fetida and also known under various common names such as redworm, brandling worm, panfish worm, trout worm, tiger worm, red wiggler worms.

Why do we use the red wiggler in our worm farm?
This species of earthworm is the best composting worm and are among the best composting worms available. They are hardy and easy to care for, tolerable to various temperatures, consume organic waste and reproduce very quickly.
What is the difference between an Earthworm and a Composting worm
The garden earthworm will borrow deep into the soil while the red wiggler lives in the top layer of soil below decomposing organic waste, decaying leaves, animal manure.

How many worms will I need?
It depends on the amount of organic waste you want to recycle. But the more worms the quicker the food will be composted. Most farms will start with a starter batch of 500 worms and larger farms with 1000 worms

How much do worms eat?
Worms can eat 1/3 to ½ their body weight every day.

Ideal temperature range for composting worms?
Composting worms have the ability with stand a wide range of temperatures. Typically red wigglers thrive in temperatures between 18 C – 27 C.

Best breeding conditions for the worms?
Climate conditions will have an effect on the cocoon production; when there is too little moisture in the bin the worms will stop producing cocoons. Peak production occurs when ambient ground and air temperatures are between 18º-27ºC and the environmental moisture content within the bin is between 80-90%. When environmental conditions are not appropriate for survival, the cocoons will lie dormant awaiting more favourable conditions. Cocoons have been known to survive for up to three years under extremely dry conditions without being adversely affected.

How long do worms live for?
Worms can live for about one year in the worm bin. When they die, they are 90% water so will shrivel up and become compost within the bin.

How do worms mate?
Worms are hermaphrodites, which means they are both male and female at the same time. In order to mate, they still require two worms. The worms line up in opposite directions near their band (or clitellum), which contains some of the sexual organs. The worms are attached for about 15 minutes while they exchange sperm cells. Several days later, eggs come in contact with the sperm cells and form a cocoon, or egg case. The cocoon separates from the worm, then fertilization takes place. Inside the cocoon, 2-5 baby worms may be found.

The worm cocoons (Worm Eggs)
Red wigglers lay cocoons that contain from 1 to 20 worms with an average of 3 to 5. The cocoons are oblong egg shaped and about the size of apple seed. Cocoons are olive green when first hatched and get darker with age until they are brown. Worms can hatch out of the cocoons as early as 21 days if conditions are right but can also take several months to hatch. In proper conditions red wigglers will lay one cocoon per week.

How long do worms take to multiply?
Worms are ready to breed once they mature from 50 to 90 days. Earthworms are hermaphrodites; they can be male or female (a great advantage!). They can perform both male and female functions and mate every 7 to 10 days. The mating process takes around 24 hours.
They grow sex organs within the first two or three months of life and reach full size in about a year. They may live up to eight years, though one to two is more likely. Full size for an earthworm varies among species, ranging from less than half an inch long to nearly 10 feet.

Do worms need sunlight?
Earthworms try to stay out of sunlight because the heat from the sun dries out their skin. If an earthworm’s skin becomes too dry, it wouldn’t be able to breath, and it would die. The red light’s more like a cloudy day to the earthworms.
Worms have strong, muscular mouths, but no teeth. They have a varied diet that includes decaying vegetation, soil, dead animals and even some living organisms.

  • Worm eggs can stay dormant in soil or compost for up to 15 years, waiting for conditions like moisture and food to be good enough to support their life. 
  • Worms can live for up to 15 years, and they have been on this earth for 120 million years. 
  • In favourable conditions, worms breed every seven to ten days and can double their population in 90 days.
  • Worm population in a well-maintained worm farm will    
  •      double every 2-3 months and given the right conditions, adult worms can produce up to 12 offspring per week
  • The average life span of a worm is 4-5 years 
  • Worms don’t have eyes , but are sensitive to light
  • Earthworms are hermaphrodites, their  
  • bodies contain both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Baby worms emerge from the eggs tiny but fully formed. They grow sex organs within the first two or three months of life and reach full size in about a year. They may live up to eight years, though one to two is more likely.