What IS that Red House that Looks like a Japanese Pagoda?

What is it?

It’s a Worm House.

What is it used for?

A self-sustaining, highly-efficient, composting process that utilizes worms to break down organic and food waste into excellent soil. (Worms love organic waste. Yummy.)

Where can I find it on campus?

It’s deep in the Botanical Gardens, in a hard to find location. Take the paved road through the jungle and turn left on the last path, just before you get to the parking lot. Walk along the path and you’ll see it in the woods, on the right.

How does it work?                                                                                                    

The Worm House consists of several trays, stacked on top of each other. Each tray is filled with compostable material in different stages of the composting process. A series of holes in the bottom of the tray allow the worms to travel between different layers. (Yuck!) The worms will travel up the different layers of trays feeding on the compostable materials until they have completely broken down the soil into compost.  The top tray will have the newest compostable material or “food” for the worms. Water is also used to create a moist environment that the worms love.

Top tray – ready to be filled

Top Tray: The beginning mixture is a combination of soil, leaves and newspapers and cut up vegetables.


Two to three weeks later

Middle Tray: In about two to three weeks, the organic mixture has started to decompose on its way to being fertilizer.




Ready to use

Last Tray (approximately 2-3 weeks beginning to end): The last tray is the completely broken down soil and material that make up the harvestable compost. As the bottom tray of compost is completed and harvested it is removed carefully. Any remaining worms will also be removed from the compost and placed safely back into the worm houses. Once the bottom tray has been successfully harvested, a new top tray is added with new new material and soil.


Who takes care of it?

The worm house project is managed by the students in our Sustainability Studies program. Visit the Sustainability website to learn more about Sustainability at Florida Tech.

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