Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Build Your Own Wormery!

We had a great time learning about worms, worm anatomy, and building our own little wormeries (or worm habitats) this week!

A wormery is a place where worms can grow, compost, and (hopefully) make more worms.  Our little wormeries are unique because their main purpose is to allow the worms to grow while letting our kiddos watch them work.  After a few days/weeks, we intend to put the worms in our garden.

Building a wormery is pretty simple...worms have very basic needs:

* Worms eat microbes found in dirt and rotting material.
* Worms use sand or very small rocks to grind up their food in their gizzard (much like birds).
* Worms need a moist, but not wet, environment because they breathe through their skin (much like frogs).  
* Worms need air.

Fun Fact: Worms have a mouth, but do not breathe through it!  It is just for eating!

To create your own observable wormery, you will need the following

Simple Supplies:

* transparent container (we used plastic jars because we were working with young children)
* something to poke holes in your container
* soil
* sand
* rocks or gravel

Easy How To:

1- Poke holes in the top and bottom of your container.  The bottom holes let any extra water drain and the top holes let air in.  Alternatively, you could just leave your lid off...

2-  Put a small layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of your container.  Again, this helps with drainage, especially in Houston where it is so humid!

3- Layer small layers of sand with larger layers of dirt.  I wish I had more pictures of this process, but everyone was so involved that my camera didn't have a chance to make it out during the action!  Most of our wormeries had two layers of each.

We used bins to let everyone reach the sand and dirt easier:

4.  Finish by putting some dead leaves or vegetable scraps on top of the soil.  If your dirt and sand were all dry, add a little water to your container as well.

We might have had some preschoolers feel the need to place a rock on top also.

5.  Finally, add your worms!  Here are a couple of our completed wormeries / worm habitats:

The one below clearly put more sand in than necessary, but it doesn't really hurt anything.  The worm will only eat as much as it needs.

And that's it!  Earthworms prefer cool temperatures, so you may want to observe it indoors for a few days, and then carefully dump it outside in a shady spot in the early morning.  Your garden will love them because they aerate the soil and worm castings (or poop) is great fertilizer!

Have you ever made a wormery?  I'd love to see it!  Feel free to leave me a comment, send an email, or pop by our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page and share a picture!  And be sure to check out all the information about worm anatomy here!

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