starting a worm farm

 

Boys and worms is there any love more true or predictable?

The boys love worms and worms are very useful we drown many of them in efforts to catch fish, we watch them, we put them in the compost, and in the garden.

I decided, in the name of science, to make the boy a worm farm.  Ok to make a worm farm with the boys, but let’s be realistic, Momma is making the worm farm.

Aware I could make a worm farm in a big Rubbermaid tubbie bedded with newspaper I set of to search the Net for a bit more specific directions.

 

Interesting worm trivia: Earth worms have no lungs or gills. They breathe through their skin. Eggs are laid in a cuff-like structure called the clitellum. Each earth worm segment or annulus except the first and last has four pairs of tiny bristles called setae. Earthworms range in size from 1 millimeter to 3 meters long!

 

 

The basics.  (also a great science site for other ideas and activities, we’ll be returning here).

 

 Many sites (like http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/default.aspx?tabid=2101) suggest NOT using night crawlers, but we are going to.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that just as many sites suggest using them, since you can buy them with ease at any bait shop.  I bought some today at our local bait shop, as I have before to add to the compost pile. 

I chose to follow the directions and advice on www.planetkids.bizHERE:

At planetkids.biz we focus on making the complex issues understandable.
Here you can find a range of clear, colourful, humorous and accurate resources to help everyone understand the major environmental challenges we face.

 

I have not read the entire site, but I do like the clear and easy style in which the projects are presented.  The directions are to / for the children, but are not dumbed down to the point they are silly.  I found them great. 

Worms brought home after our trip to the post office I discussed the plan with the boys.

We took an older tubbie that still had a top, but a top that was warped and did not fit great.  Daddy pitched in by drilling holes in the lid and around the top of the tubbie itself.  Air movement is important.

The boys and I shredded newspaper for the bedding.  Shredding newspaper is a great fine motor skill practice (shhh).  It builds strength and control.  I was, frankly, amazed how much trouble the boys both had with actually gripping paper in thumbs and first fingers and tearing it, not just pulling at it.  I admit Momma shredded most of it; but Big Brother sat with me a long time and worked hard.

After the paper we filled two small pails with dirt from the garden and poured that in.  Momma got the job of hosing the mix until “moistened so it is as wet as a wrung out sponge”.   Both boys really really really desired THAT job!! But the point is not a swimming pool for worms.  After that we dumped in the worms!!

At the point the worms got added, more bedding was needed but I chose to go on and add the worms while the boys were still interested; adding additional bedding later.

Supposedly “The worms will reproduce about every 60 days” – That remains to be seen.   They are in the basement, where it is cool enough, they have damp newspaper and some dirt and some egg shells.  Now to wait…

 The lucky pioneers.  The startes!!!

 Little Brother poking at the starters.

 Add dirt…

  and the pioneers get tossed in to their fate…

 The happy little farm…

For families that do not live on 33 acres, do not have need for a full farm, nor space for it; or for parents that really can’t get into making and maintaining a full farm: http://www.ehow.com/how_4865624_make-worm-farm-kids.html is a great idea on how to do a small short term farm for observation with out the full commitment.  Might be a good options for a family in an apartment ort small house in the ‘burbs. http://quazen.com/kids-and-teens/entertainment/how-to-make-a-worm-farm-in-a-plastic-bottle/ is the same idea, but I think the first link does a better job of explaining it.   I am thinking of doing this, too, because they boys would be able to see the worms more, and see the tunnels and so on – more of an observation opportunity.

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