Earthworms are the unsung heroes of fertilization. Through the hard work of billions of these underground creatures, countless acres of soil are tilled naturally. Luckily, watching these industrious creatures in action takes only a little bit of ecologically-minded craftiness.
Things You'll Need
- 1 clear, narrow container (glass jug, soda bottle, etc.)
- Soil (compost, potting soil, garden soil, etc.)
- Leaves, mulch or newspaper
- Worms, nightcrawlers
- Black material (construction paper)
Fill the container with alternating layers of soil and sand; a 2:1 ratio should work well. Vary the type of soil (compost, garden soil, etc.) On the top of the sand/soil mixture, add a layer of dead leaves or plants, mulch, or 1-inch strips of moistened newspaper. You can also half-bury small amounts of organic matter into the top of your soil.
Add water to the habitat so the dirt inside is moist, but not quite wet.
Add worms or nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers are larger and may be easier to observe. For a small one-gallon jug, half a dozen nightcrawlers should be sufficient.
Add a perforated or mesh lid that allows for air flow. Wrap the container in black material (construction paper works fine) to block out sunlight. Place the habitat in a cool, shady place.
Over the next several days, remove the black covering to observe the worms as they slowly till the soil. Keep the soil moist. When the soil is completely tilled, release the worms back into the wild. If you'd like to keep the worms around for longer, consider a compost bin.
Tips & Warnings
- You can also place a solid, narrow object in the center of the habitat, such as a stone or overturned soda can. This will force the worms to the edges, where they are easily observed.
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