My eight-year-old, Isaac, has been fascinated with all aspects of getting our Back to Eden garden ready for spring. From planting the seedlings, to putting down the black-plastic temporary tarp, to climbing our pile of wood chips, there’s fun for him at every turn!
Now, we’ve started a new science project to satisfy his curiosity for what, exactly, worms do in a compost pile.
Using a clear plastic gallon jug with the top removed, we have created a little worm habitat.
We will be learning about:
- What is Vermiculture?
- What do worms eat?
- Where do worms like to live and sleep?
- Will they reproduce?
- Why do we want worms in our compost pile? (What important role can they play in the composting process?)
We don’t have the worms yet. We’re picking some up from a local pet store on Thursday. A container of fifty worms is about $3.99 at our local PetSmart.
In the meantime, we have already gotten their home ready for them.
There are a few elements that make a happy habitat for the little critters:
- Soil – We’re using some organic seed starting medium. It’s light and holds moisture well, but doesn’t clump together like other soil. It should be damp, but not sopping wet.
- Bedding material – We layered grass and leaves with the soil. We also have a paper shredder, so we may add some shredded paper to the top of the pile. We’ve read they like that.
- Food – Anything that you’d ordinarily put into the compost bin — only in smaller amounts. Fruit and vegetable scraps. No oils, meats, dairy or breads. Egg shells would be ok, but one site recommends cooking them first. (?) I think we’ll probably use coffee grounds and the diced and shredded scraps from some fruits and veggies. They eat about half their body weight each day, so feed them accordingly. Too much food may cause the habitat to have an odor.
- Darkness – Worms are not fond of light. And definitely, keep it out of the sun else you might cook them. :O We’ll be keeping ours in a cool, dark place and take it out when we want to watch them work.
Once we’ve had a chance to observe their composting activity for a week or so, we’ll turn them loose in our new wood-pallet garden compost bin, which should be built by then.
We’ll report here with ours — and the worms’ — progress!