Worm poop

Amazing stuff, worm poop is!  (And yes, some might prefer to call it “worm castings.”  In fact I often avoid calling it poop when working with older grades, ’cause they tend to think it’s gross and start squealing.  Calling it awesome soil for the garden seems to help a bit.)

Worms!

This week at Blake we harvested a whole bunch (a pretty serious bucket full) of worm castings from a vermicomposter that one of the teachers has had in his classroom for about 3 years.  The bin was getting pretty heavy with a dense load of worm poop, so I figured it was time to harvest.  There are a couple of different methods to do this – I figured the “dump and sort” method would be the best for doing this with a bunch of kids (though we ended up doing a modified “dump and sort”).  The “dump and sort” method consists of making cone-shaped piles of the contents of the worm bin and then giving the worms some time to wriggle their way down before scooping off the top (hopefully worm-free) layer of the pile, and then repeating that process until the worms have all made their way down into a little cozy bunch at the bottom.  Alas, this method requires time and patience, which are not always things that grade 3s and 4s have. The weather was also quite chilly, meaning that the worms were pretty lethargic and not moving down the pile terribly quickly.

Hard at work sorting out those worms.

"Check out these worms!"

So the modified version worked like this:  Outside on the grass, we put down an old plastic sheet, onto which I (carefully) scooped some of the worm bin contents.  We then took small handfulls of castings/worms and sorted out the worms, putting them in a mini temporary new worm bin that I’d set up, and making a separate pile of the castings that would later go in the garden.  Most of the kids were pretty into it, though a few were grossed out (and/or too cool) to join in, even with gloves on.  But it went pretty well, and we got a good bucket full of castings for the garden.  It’s such amazing dark compost, and smells so good (in that amazingly rich soil kind of way).

The worms' home (the blue bin) and a big bucket of castings.

After we’d finished sorting the worms from the castings, I set up the worm bin again so I could put the worms back in there.  I drilled a few more holes, since the bin had been getting a bit too wet.  I then added some shredded paper mixed with some water, some dried leaves from the garden, and a few handfulls of garden soil.  And then the wormies (and whatever castings they were still clinging on to) headed back into their newly renovated home, along with some fruit and veggie scraps that were left over.

The worms start settling into their new home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I had half of the class outside, the other students worked on writing Compost Haiku poems.  I got to hear/read some of them, but have managed to misplace the one I scribbled down.  If I get my hands on one or two of them, I’ll be sure to post them.  But for now, enjoy my wormy pictures.

Happy growing (and wriggling)!

Me and my worm friends! I am truly fascinated by these amazing creatures!

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