A mini habitat can be anything from a special section in your backyard to the garden in its entirety—it is just a matter of perspective! Of course, if you want to make a mini habitat that you can keep indoors and which might be functional in addition to being a great teaching opportunity for your kids, why not start with a mini habitat fit for worms? Better than an ant farm, these worms are easy to keep, won’t run away and take over your pantry if the habitat cracks and best of all, they can be taken outside and put in the garden where they will work their composting magic around your plants and bushes! Simply follow these easy steps and make a mini habitat any worm will love!
Things You'll Need
- 1 Clear plastic liter soda bottle
- Utility knife
- Long wooden or plastic spoon
- 4x4 inch piece of nylon netting
- 2 pages of the local newspaper (shredded)
- Aquarium gravel
- Potting soil
- Small bag of playground sand
- Organic matter (bits and pieces of overripe banana, peaches and other fruits or veggies)
- Watering can
- 3 earthworms or red worms
- Round flowerpot tray
Take an empty liter size soda bottle and clean it thoroughly. Remove the plastic wrapper on the outside to permit for great viewing from all angles. This will become the container for the mini habitat ingredients.
Measure eight inches from the bottom of the bottle up; make a small mark on the outside of the bottle so you know where the eight inch line is.
Cut around the bottle well above the eight inch mark as though you were cutting off the top entirely, but stop when there is one inch left, keeping the top still connected to the bottom portion of the bottle. This permits easy access to the bottom portion of the mini habitat.
Use the corkscrew to make holes above the eight inch mark. These provide the ventilation needed for the worms and for the excess moisture to evaporate. Make some holes on the bottom of the bottle as well to permit for excess moisture buildup to drain away.
Take the nylon netting and place it inside the bottle with the help of the long spoon. Gently press it down so it covers the bottom of the bottle completely. Do not miss this step as it will keep smaller worms inside the mini habitat and prevents them from wiggling out of the bottom drainage holes.
Top the nylon netting with half an inch of aquarium gravel. Next, add four inches of potting soil. Follow this with ½ inch of playground sand. Add another two inches of potting soil.
Gently water the soil inside the mini habitat with the watering can. You want it moist but not wet.
Shred the newspaper and moisten it. It should be as wet as a dish towel after you have done all your dishes and wrung it out to dry. This soggy mess will be the bedding provided for your worms and you need to place it on top of the last layer of potting soil in the mini habitat. This should take the substance inside the plastic bottle up to the eight inch mark.
Sprinkle a handful of potting soil on top of the soggy paper. Do not press down on the bedding, but instead place it loosely into the plastic bottle.
Place organic matter underneath the soil covered newspaper. Keep it to one side of the mini habitat, permitting the worms to have easy access to the paper and the soil below. Sprinkle with another handful of moistened potting soil.
Gently place the worms on the side of the mini habitat that allows them easy access to the underlying soil. Keep the mini habitat away from direct sunlight—worms prefer the dark—and keep it moist but not dripping wet. Place some aquarium gravel in the flowerpot tray and place the plastic bottle mini habitat on top of it. This keeps it in place and also permits any moisture runoff to not ruin your shelves. A closet or dark corner of the room is an ideal location for this worm mini habitat.