Build a homemade wormhouse to see how worms tunnel through the dirt. As a bonus, they'll produce natural fertilizer for your garden.
- Step 1: Put your worm farm in a dark place or enclose it in dark construction paper to keep the worms happy.
- Step 2: Cover the wormhouse with a mesh material that will keep the worms inside without suffocating them, such as a wire screen or cheese cloth. Secure it with a rubber band or duct tape.
- Step 3: Check your wormhouse a day later to see if the worms have made tunnels. As they eat through the dirt, worms excrete castings, or poop, that is full of rich nutrients that you can collect and use in your garden.
- Step 4: Keep the worms captive for only a few days before releasing them into their natural environment, where they will continue tunneling and eating and improving the quality of the soil and, in turn, the plants that grow there.
- FACT: A worm has 5 hearts, the better to pump blood through its wriggly body.
- TIP: If you have some small vegetable scraps, you can put those in for the worms to feed on, either in addition to or instead of composted leaves.
- Step 5: Put a layer of composted leaves on top of the dirt for the worms to feed on.
- Step 6: Pack fresh soil in the outer layer between the two containers. Use plain dirt from your garden rather than potting soil from a bag.
- TIP: The outer layer should be clear so you can see your worms in their new home.
- Step 7: Drizzle a bit of water onto the dirt until it's moist but not soaked or flooded.
- Step 8: Put in a handful of worms that you dug up in your yard or bought at a bait and tackle shop. Simply place them on top of the dirt -- they will tunnel their way down.
- TIP: Worms are usually found in healthy soil that has not been treated with chemicals. It may be easiest to find them by digging around the roots of grass and plants or under rocks.
- Step 9: Get 2 plastic containers that nest together with about a finger-width of space between them. A 16-ounce water bottle inside a 2-liter soda bottle with the top cut off works well, but you can use something else you have on hand as long as it's clean.