Watch it wriggle – how to make your wormery
The weather has been improving lately and we have been spending more time in the garden. Trimming and cutting everything down in preparation for the spring and new growth and turning over the soil in our vegetable patch to plan some green goodies
While working in the garden we have seen quite a lot of worms that have been brought up to the surface and of of course they had caught Teddy’s interest and a new wave of questions started. After answering every question multiple times and still not seeing his satisfaction I decided to build a wormery where we could watch the warms at work more closely and give Teddy a better idea what the worms do for us in the garden
So, what will you need to make your own wormery?
- Soil – its best to use different types of soil to encourage worms to work we used rich soil from our vegetable patch and some compost
- Some container to hold your worms. It should be narrow to guarantee to see some worms at work we used empty 2 l bottle.
- Sand to add once again a layer with different texture for the worms to explore
- Black out fabric to give worms some privacy and again encourage them to make tunnels at the edge of your container to get you better idea about their work underground. We used a sheet of black felt which I wrapped around the bottle and secured with an elastic band
So, let’s get started!
Firstly, we cut the top off from our bottle and then started to fill it up. for the first layer we used sand
Then teddy added a layer pf rich soil from our garden, then another thin layer of sand, a layer of compost and a further layer of soil.
Day before Teddy was on one of his bug watch in the garden, he goes out every day with a magnifying glass turning over every stone, log or plant pot in the garden and looking for insects before replacing the stone back securely and gently on its place, so on one of his bug watch as I call it he noticed a couple of worms living under one of our plant pots on our decking almost without any soil underneath at all. So, we thought that these would be ideal candidates for our worm hotel.
We wanted to have a few more so we went back to our vegetable patch and dug some up. It has been rainy lately so we did not have problems to spot any very close to the surface. If it’s warm or dry you should water the ground thoroughly and give worms couple of hours to come up from hiding in the depths where they keep nice and cool. Teddy has decided to add 4 more. They were all really tiny. If they were larger we would have put in less.
You do not need to cover the worms, just place them gently on the top soil and watch them work their wriggly bodies to burrow within a minute. Watch them disappear to show your kids where is their head and which part is tail. That might also be a good time to talk to your children about them. Have a look at their skin, is it smooth or rough? Dry or slimy? Does it have a clitellum, a palish ring which only adult’s worms have or is it a young one with her ring to yet develop?
Then we wrapped it all in the felt and placed it in our porch which is still nice and cool but they also get protection from the frost. You know the spring weather in Britain can be very changeable. We placed another piece of black fabric loosely over the top.
We inspected them daily. Day one, there was not much to see so we decided to encourage the worms and added few drops of water to the top soil. Teddy used his dropper for it. You can use spray but only a little as you do not want to flood them.
You can see some leaves on top of our wormery, they are however not necessary. We talked about worm’s diet and I told Teddy that apart from very tiny stones and grit they also eat rotten insect, fruit or leaves so Teddy has decided to pick few dandelion leaves and placed them there in case they feel peckish in the middle of the night, bless. Of course, they did not eat it but he feels better about it.
The next day we could already see multiple tunnels and some of the worms being busy at work. It was fascinating to watch. We have been reading a book about worms to. We had it a while but suddenly it has become an everyday must read.
We talked about the worm’s hard work under ground, how they loosen the soil and make it easier for water to reach the roots of the plants but it must be hard for the little ones to imagine that there is a such a busy life under the surface so watching them in their wormary was a great way for him to see it first-hand.
We only keep our worms for a maximum up to a week and then we release them back into our garden. If you want you can repeat the whole process with fresh soil and different worms. In most gardens, on average there should be about 20 worms on every square meter so we do not have shortage of occupants for our wormery.
If you have older kids you could ask them to keep a journal and record every that what work their worms made, younger kids could make a drawing.
Hope we inspired at least one of you to give it a go and we are looking forward to seeing pictures of your wormaries
Thank you for reading us
Teri & Teddy
Some of the books we are currently reading topic related:
This is one of Teddy’s favourite book since he was little, its about insect from different places around the word. Its 3D and makes sound of the insect. You can get it here: UK (I got mine much cheaper from TK Maxx) and US
One of our hand book which can be also kept as a journal, you can get it here UK
Another pocket handbook we like to take out with us while exploring!