Earthworms are some of the garden’s best workers. They make burrows in the soil, helping air, water and nutrients get to our plants’ roots. Worms are fantastic recyclers too. As long as it’s organic (something that was once living) they can eat it!
Having a worm farm in your garden is a wonderful way to learn about these amazing creatures. Or you could make your own observation jar so you can watch worms in action!
You will need
Big earthworms that live in the top 20cm of garden soil eat huge amounts of soil and the organic matter in it as they make their tunnels. Other, even bigger types of earthworms burrow really deep underground. Worms that live deep in the soil are the palest in colour. Why do you think would that be?
Compost worms are smaller, darker coloured ‘surface dwellers’ that live where there is loads of organic matter to feed on; in forest litter, animal dung or the kitchen scraps in your compost heap or worm farm. These little guys are too busy eating and making baby worms to make burrows.
A worm farm is a special house for compost worms that recycle kitchen scraps into food for plants. They like it best when its chopped up small, but as long as its organic (something that was once living) they can eat it. Worms can be fussy about their food (don’t give them too many onions or citrus fruit).
HOW DO WORMS MOVE?
Worms have a coat of slimy mucus that helps them glide smoothly through the soil using two layers of muscles to stretch and flex. One muscle layer runs lengthwise and another works in a circle around the worm's body.
DID YOU KNOW?
Earthworms are almost everywhere! The only places they don’t live are in frozen ground or in the desert. Worms are sensitive to temperature and the sun’s UV radiation. Sunlight can kill them.
To find out more about these fascinating creatures go to the Science Learning Hub website sciencelearn.org.nz and search ‘earthworms’.