So a friend of mine gifted me with a bucket of worms mixed with dirt and food. It was a living colony and I maintained it so, even growing properly. I've followed quite a few proper rules, also taking into account prior post on how-to-make-compost.

  • I made several levels with 20 liters paint buckets with some holes in it (in the sides and below). From top bottom:
    • Covered with cloth and some slight weight
    • 3rd level has the major colony where I throw food.
    • 2nd level has a base of grass, dirt and is where they go down to reproduce.
    • 1st level is empty with no holes to receive water from above layers.

I already know how long this takes in average, and that it should have a balance between carbon and nitrogen. Now to the question. Once this is all done:

How do I know, visually, if the vermi-compost is properly ripe?

  • I believe an identifier should be that when you stick your hand inside the pile our skin and the dirt should come out with some kind of glow. But not sure if this is good enough as an index of what's happening.
    – nilon
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


How should it look like?

It should look like very fine, dark-brown earth. And there should be no worm or very few in it: worms climb up your pile where fresh material is added.

vermi-compost without worms

Usually, this is what you will get at the bottom of your pile. You can't have your whole batch turn into compost entirely, since constantly have to add new nutriments on top otherwise your worms will get hungry and start migrating... elsewhere in your kitchen... no just kidding, you don't starve poor little wormy, do you?

How long to wait?

It can take up to wait 6 moths to a year; but some say it can take less.

You can also us the smell:

You want a nice earthy smell. If it smells sour or rotten there's probably got too much water and not enough air. If it smells of ammonia, you've got too much nitrogen ("greens") and not enough carbon ("browns").

  • 1
    +1 Good answer! Just no need to link to how long it takes... since that was already in the question. Maybe that can be edited/removed. Also some people argue the speed can get much quicker. Even up to 2 months. Like Toni says (in Spanish).
    – nilon
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 13:22

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