Worms, worms and more worms

A few months ago I applied for some funding with Actimel so we could do a growing project in our garden. I was delighted to find out we’d been granted our wish.

My idea was to try to grow enough ingredients for a whole meal for the family, whilst learning about composting, keeping pests away and generally how to grow food successfully.

Actimel kindly sent us a wormery, bug catchers, magnifying glasses and a planter.

Unfortunately the weather has been a little cold for us to plant much outside, but we have set a few things growing inside.

S couldn’t wait to get started with the wormery, so we set that up straight away.

First we talked about what it would be like to be a worm, and tried slithering around the floor not using arms or legs.

 

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We managed to find lots of worm casts in the lawn as it has been so damp recently. These are swirls of soil made as earth passes through the worm’s stomach.  I remember at school we used a chemical to encourage worms up to the surface, but you could try  watering a small patch of soil to see if you can coax them out.

We have a currently unused vegetable patch so the girls did some careful digging to find worms for us. We talked about how we had to hold them very gently.

 

Worms

 

We set up the Wormery by building up different layers of sand and soil, then added the worms and a few leaves on top.

Worms do not like sunlight so we kept a cover over the top and stored it in the shade. The children checked the wormery everyday.  The leaves slowly got pulled downwards and all the layers got mixed up. We could see tunnels being formed and how these let air and water into the soil.

 

worm world

 

A few Eathworm facts

  • There are over 3000 different kinds.
  • Annelids – the phylum of which Earthworms are part, are good swimmers.
  • Some in Australia can grow to over 3 meters long!
  • The scientific name for the common earthworm is Lumbricus terrestris.
  • Earthworms have no eyes or ears, but are very sensitive to vibrations.
  • Worms are often eaten by hedgehogs, birds, frogs and toads.
  • There are about 3 million worms per acre of grassland, that is a lot of worms.
  • Fossils are rare due to the soft body.
  • Earthworms tunnel underground by eating the soil.
  • Earthworms feed on leaves and the remains of dead plants. We saw with our wormery that the leaves got broken down and dragged down into the soil.

How do earthworms move?

If you look at an earthworm you can see the body is made up of lots of segments, underneath the segments are muscles which contract and relax allowing the worm to move.

How do earthworms breathe?

Earhworms absorb oxgen through pores in their skin. This is why they come up to the surface when it rains, they need to come to the surface to breathe if their burrow becomes waterlogged.

Why do we need worms?

Worms are essential for the wellbeing of plants. The tunnels allow water to reach the roots and the process of the worm eating soil releases nutirents needed by the plants. Worms are also a source of food for other animals.

Did you know worms were such amazing creatures?

 

For a light hearted look at the life of a worm, we loved this hilarious book, Diary of a Worm.

 

Find out how you can apply for funding from Actimel here.

Red Ted Art has some great PLAY ideas also.

We were sent the wormery as part of the Family Wellbeing Program.

We believe every family has the right to happiness, health and togetherness. That’s why we’ve created a way to help boost your family’s wellbeing with smart little tips and small steps that can make a big difference.

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