Window-sill vermiculture

Start an earthworm colony in your window-sill. It is easy. It is inexpensive. It is fun. You can do it, even if you live in a shared accomodation (e.g. student-hostel, dormitory).

(Invite God's best creation, to your home)

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This page draws inspiration from
Partha's philosophy


About Misc.
Breed earthworms, for a beautiful world

The humble earthworm may be called as the most beautiful creation of GOD. Now, you can have more of GOD in your home, however modest your home may be. This page will show you how to breed earthworms at your own home. Not only can you use them in your garden, you may also sell them and make money, or gift them, and make friends.

Earthworms are delicate and defenceless creatures. They have no teeth, claws, horns or fangs, to defend themselves. They can't even run away or fly away, in case of danger. Even as they try to hide or escape, their long shape makes them easy to detect or catch. They are easy prey to every form of predator. They need all your protection and care, to help them survive (and multiply). This page will help you in this direction.

Brought to you by Biofarm
Who is Partha ?
Meet Partha's earthworms (his adopted children)

Earthworms are for everybody

all you have to do is, adopt some in your home.

You do NOT need .....

  1. A big house with lots of open land all around
  2. Lots of special equipment
  3. Lots of special consumables
  4. Lots of food, to feed these pets
  5. Any special knowledge of any special science or technology
  6. Lots of money

You need....

  1. An open mind, a sense of love, a commitment to making this a beautiful world
  2. A small, cool, and safe corner of your house -- a shaded balcony, a broad window-sill, staircase landing, space under the kitchen platform....
  3. Some simple material, which you usually find in your house
  4. Cow dung
  5. Decaying leaves, kitchen peels, organic compost, and vegetative matter
  6. A stock of earthworms, to start the colony
  7. Guts, to handle things like cow-dung and decaying matter, and slimy animals like earthworms (but, this is real fun, and is thoroughly enjoyable)

Avoid strictly

  1. Never add salt in the worm container. Worms do not have any skin (epidermis). The salt can burn them to death. Remember how it feels when you sprinkle salt on an open wound.
  2. Never add cooked food, or food containing spices. You will attract, rats, flies, and other pests. They will mess up the container, and will compete with your worms for food. They may even hurt or kill your worms.
  3. No milk, or diary products. These decay by fermentation, causing foul smell, and irritate the worms.
  4. No chemicals please. Avoid detergents and deodorising chemicals.
  5. No harsh, direct, sunlight. Worms do not have any skin (epidermis) The heat can scorch them to death.
  6. Do not shake, or poke the container harshly. Of course, you wouldn't like to be poked that way, would you ?

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How to do it........step-by-step

The instructions given below, are just suggestions and guidelines. Use your own imagination, and the material you can find around you. You can adapt and improvise. Just make a beginning, and improve your experiment everyday.

  1. Choose a suitable container

    The container should be strudy, waterproof, rodent proof, and at least 30 cm. tall. Just about any used pail or bucket should be okay.Try anything sturdy, readily available at home. You can use a plastic crate or any laundry basket or tub. You can also fabricate something out of waste wood, or plastic material. In any case, do not use a metal container, like an old bucket etc. The metal container can become unbearably hot in summer, and kill your worms.


    You are going to fill up 4-5 layers of at least 50 mm each, this will weigh about 6 to 8 kilogrammes. So, make sure your container can carry that much weight and volume. It should be sturdy enough, so that rodents do not gnaw through the container. And it should be capable of withstanding exposure to rain and sunshine. Also, make sure that you can lift the container, with all the material, yourself. And make sure it will fit into the place where you want to keep it, till the colony develops fully, and is ready for harvesting.
    Scrub and wash the container thoroughly several times with fresh water. Do NOT use soaps or detergents. Worms are very delicate creatures. Any residual salts or chemicals can hurt them pretty badly.
  2. Drill holes for draining out excessive water

    Earthworms enjoy moist surroundings, but they cannot live under water. So make sure you do NOT drown them in excessive water. Water should drain out easily from the container. So, drill many holes of about 5 mm dia like this, on the base of the container.


  3. Prevent worms from escaping

    When you have drilled holes like this, you can be sure some worms may also wriggle their way out. You have to stop the fugitives from escaping. You also have to stop other insects from infiltrating into the colony. You must block the base. Take a sheet of thin synthetic sponge (the kind used for wrapping delicate objects while packing them), and a sheet of nylon mesh, like this. . First lay the sponge on the base, covering all the holes.

    Useful Tip: If you soak the sponge in water, it will be easier for you to flatten it and spread it out evenly.


    Then, spread the nylon mesh over this sponge. The mesh will block the worms from escaping. The sponge will let excess water pass through and yet keep the base wet. The baby worms are so slender, they can slip between the holes of the nylon mesh. The sponge will gently block them from escaping further. Adult worms cannot slip past the mesh, anyway.

    Then, spread a layer of two sheets of plain newsprint newspapers. These layers will also keep away all intruders -- ants, crawlers, centipedes....etc. Sprinkle some water, and ensure that the bed is wet but not drippping. You are now ready to use the container to create your own worm colony. The newspaper will decay gradually, or be eaten away by the worms. This will give enough time for all the matter to settle down and get consolidated.
  4. Prepare the base bed

    First, spread a layer of cow dung of about 40 to 50 mm. Over this, spread a layer of decaying organic matter (composted leaves), about 40 to 50 mm.
  5. Populate the colony

    Release a handfull of earthworms, gently, into the container, over the organic matter.


  6. Cover up with protective layers

    Add one more layer of cow dung and then a layer of decaying vegetative matter. These will cover the worms, keep them warm, and protect them from predators.

    Finally, cover the container with a nylon mesh, and tie it up securily. This will help all gases to escape from the container, and avoid foul smell. It will keep the container well ventilated and cool. It will avoid flies and protect the worms from flying predators (birds). It will also prevent your worms from crawling away from the top of the container.


    Your container will finally look like this :


    It would be a good idea to document the date when this colony was created, and pack the paper in a plastic pouch. You can add other relevant details like the source of the starter worms, quantity of worms etc.
    Place the pouch on the top of all the material, in the container. Update this document regularly, as the colony progresses. This will help you keep track of your experiment.

    Place the container in a cool, shady place, well-protected from predators, like this,
    or like this.


    Earthworms are the ideal pets one can adopt at home. They do not bite or sting. They do not need any special attention or care, unlike other pets. They do not need to be fed, because they feed on the decaying stuff you have put in the container. It is a great pleasure to watch your worms enjoy themselves and grow like this. Very soon, they will start multiplying.


    IMPORTANT Do NOT stir the container. Do not poke with a stick or shovel, or pitchfork. Do not shake the container, or rock it violently. Earthworms are very delicate and fragile.


  7. Enjoy your pets

    If all goes well, very soon, you will have a nice collection of worms. Wait for about 8 weeks. Worms take that time to mate, and produce eggs, which will hatch in about 6 weeks. Wait for two more weeks -- this will give time for the newborns to grow up and be ready to take care of themselves. Ten weeks after starting the colony, you can take out a part of the colony and release it into your garden. Make sure to isolate the babies and put them back into the container. They can be the beginning of another new colony. Harvest only the larger adults. Let them out at the base of your plants. They will start their work of loosening up your soil and enriching it. The decaying matter will also have become good quality vermi-compost (mixture of worm excretions i.e. vermicast and compost) -- use this as a tonic for your plants.

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Suggestions ? Remarks ? Comments ?

Send them to Partha, right now.

Have a question ? Have some doubts ?

Ask Partha, right now.

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To know more about earthworms and vermiculture

Take a look at about worms and vermiculture

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Make your own compost tea -- for free !

Coming this space.....


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Page last modified on: 2015-03-09
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Simplicity is divine.
E W Dijkstra (1930-2002)

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