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Worm Farm
This worm farm teaches children about earthworms and their importance in our ecosystem. Grow vegetation and create a Worm's ecosystem!

Age Grading: 6+ Years
Product Code: WS/27

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Detailed introduction
  • High quality large volume worm colony with privacy shutters to bring worm tunnels close to view.
  • Plant seeds and grow vegetation in soil strata separated by coloured sand horizons to track worm activity. Discover the amazing abilties of worms in a series of safe and humane experiments using real worms. It is part of the WILD! Science ECO System.
  • VIDEO
    FAQ
    Q1. Why are worms escaping from the seams of the Worm Farm?

    A1. So sorry you are having trouble with escaping worms. We have a few worm farm products all of which are worm proof.

    We think it might be the product with two large clear vertical plastic sections which click together as a¡¦shell' with little plastic location pegs and sockets moulded into them.

    Now, if kids are filling this worm farm with soil, the shell it is best held in the base and with side panels attached. We have found children will often hold the halves of the shell together by hand while filling with soil. If the shell moves apart at all, sand gets jammed in the seam and works the seam wider and wider.

    So if you are 'leaking worms', best open it up, save the worms, carefully wash the halves making sure no sand gets in the peg sockets. Then reassemble, and refill with soil making sure the halves remain clamped together by the base and side panels.



    Q2. Worms arrived in winter. Can I keep them alive until May?

    A2. As it happens, last year we had a customer in Ontario with a related problem. What was she to do with her current colony of happy worms going into Winter? She , unlike us, keeps her worm colony outside. We always keep ours inside where we can check up on them ( and yes, some of us even chat to them). You might be interested in our answer to her, and below that we will give you our suggestion for your situation.

    " According to recent research, Ontario's wild earthworms should migrate downwards to below the frost layer, where they will kind of hibernate or slow down until next spring. However they will leave embryos developing inside eggs in the upper layers which will get frozen hard. Those embryos it seems can survive freezing!. On thawing out , the research study embryos almost immediately hatched into tiny thread like baby worms ... so spring should bring a new batch of baby worms. Now , sorry that doesn't exactly answer your question if you keep the worms inside. But we thought it was very interesting. Do baby worms have anti freeze? Hmmm..

    What about keeping the kits indoors. We have had worms die in our worm farms of natural causes - and we have had loads of young worms hatching out too. It seems they kind of regulate their own populations. And we don't notice much seasonal effect inside our houses, but we haven't studied that aspect very hard.
    One scientist in the team here would be very excited to see what happens to Ontario worms if you leave the kit outside, and all the soil freezes. Will there just be babies next spring? Or what? Another thinks thats a bit hard on the bigger worms - and suggests to just keep them as usual and see what sort of tunnelling activity they get up to in winter indoors, compared to summer or fall indoors."

    we suggest you do keep your worms. Why not dig up some garden soil and defrost it, enough to fill your kit, and keep them inside?

    But if these beautiful friendly harmless earthworms are too much to tolerate in the house, maybe dig down below the frost level outside and bury them where they can chill out until later in Spring.



    Q3. Colored sand at a hobby store?

    A3. Yes you can try. But we cannot guarantee their worms will be happy eating the type of hobby sand that you buy. It will be a matter of trial and error.



    Q4. Worms died at the top?

    A4. Did you happen to leave the Farm in a hot place or in direct sun?
    Note: nightcrawler type earthworms (the plain grey or brown ones) are the ones that burrow into the soil. Compost worms which only live in dead plant materials ( they usually have reddish and tiger stripey bodies) do not burrow in soil.



    Q5. I was wondering if it is ok to use potting soil in the worm farm or if that may be harmful?

    A5. In general, new potting compost, but it is not as good as good old down home garden or park dirt. The reason is worms have evolved to digest living soil bacteria and fungi along with the humus and plant matter. Many potting composts have been treated to remove or kill bacteria and fungi. So new compost is rather low in food value for them.
    We suggest stir a few spoons of damp dirt into the upper layer of the compost in the worm farm, and let nature take its course.



    Q6. Water leak out the bottom/sides and has gotten the privacy screens wet, caused them to stick to the windows.

    A6. If the soil is very wet that goes in with the worms, or if it is overwatered, excess water is designed to leak out as worms can drown!
    If soil is wet or you water it, take out screens and wait 15 minutes, drain off excess water and replace screens.



    Q7. No soil for worms, how to start Worm Farm-info needed.

    A7. You can use regular backyard dirt, so long as it is not polluted with chemicals, soaps or oils etc. Yes, it is a good idea to strain out bigger stones.
    You'll need to wet it well before use. Worms, also need some organic materials in the soil to eat , so if it is really sandy we suggest going half and half with potting mix from a plant nursery supply.
    Yes, bait worms are good to use so long as they are earthworms. You can also buy earthworms and nightcrawlers online from many sources in the USA. But please don't buy compost worms - they require quite different environments.



    Q8. Buying worms?

    A8. You can buy worms via the internet from many places. But you do need to ask for earthworms or nightcrawlers, not compost worms.
    We have some known sources as below:

    If you are in UK, our distributor in UK supplies:
    http://www.interplaydirect.co.uk/
    If you are in USA, or Canada please visit here:
    http://www.sciencekit.com/alive
    We also found other stores in the US:
    Acme Worm Farm
    4731 N. Edgebrooke Place
    Tucson, AZ 85705
    520-750-8056

    Monster Worms

    P.O. Box 1211
    Antioch, CA 94509

    Rainbowworms
    Bob Swan
    1119 Va los trancos
    San Lorenzo, CA 94580

    The Worm Farm
    9033 Esquon Road
    Durham, CA 95938

    Now, damp sandy soil is OK if you mix some composted leaf litter in with it. Try handfuls of leaf litter from under a bush scrunched up into little bits ... mixed in with damp sand. Chopped up dry grass clippings are also good.
    Or you can buy worm soil from the same place you buy the worms!



    Q9. Why is water sitting on top of soil?

    A9. If you have quite heavy or clay-like soil. That would make worm burrowing slower and also make water stand on top. It is best to not put worms into standing water.

    Solution 1
    Try pushing holes through the top layer soil with your pipette to let the water drain into the sandy layers below. Then pop your worms in on top. This is OK, but worms do find it hard to burrow through clay.
    Solution 2
    Maybe you put coloured sand on top? This sand is slightly waxy. Fine for use below ground, but it can 'repel' water for quite a while if on top. If so, just stir it up a bit with the dirt below and the water will drain in.
    Solution 3
    If it is your garden soil that is making the drainage slow, empty out your worm farm and start again. But this time pre mix your garden soil with regular sand and leaf mulch or compost ... anything to make it lighter and more porous. You can even pre wet the soil to make it damp and load it into the worm farm with no more watering.



    Q10. If the Worm Farm can connect to other systems in Wild Science?

    A10. Yes it can, and the average earthworm will go exploring thru the tubes at night. Hence 'nightcrawlers'. We have found them traveling more than 2 metres between kits in exhibitions. But they will only do that when there is a surface film of water in the tube. This happens naturally after the kits have been set up for a few days, and happens most at night as the ambient temperature drops , and condensation builds up inside the tube.



    Q11. Do we need ¡¨Liquid Tea¡¨ to feed our worms?

    A11. No we do not get 'liquid' tea sometimes called 'worm' juice from the kit. This liquid is produced only in a specifically designed food scraps recycling system using 'compost worms', a certain species that will survive this ultra rich food environment. Some can survive in just food scraps and old paper with no soil at all.
    Our kit is a naturalistic soil based wild earthworm kit. But you can still feed them on vegetable food scraps - just a very little at a time.



    Q12. How many worms are supposed to be put in the worm farm?

    A12. It depends on the size really. We think about 8 to 10 worms which are about 10cm (4 inches) long not stretched out is fine. More if they are smaller, less if they are bigger. You could even start with 2 and see what you end up with!



    Q13. Can I use potting soil in the worm farm?

    A13. New potting soil is not as good as good old garden or park dirt. Why? The reason is that worms have evolved to digest living soil bacteria and fungi along with the humus and plant matter. Many potting soils have been treated to remove or kill bacteria and fungi. So new potting soil is rather low in food value for them.
    We suggest to stir a few spoons of damp garden or park dirt into the upper layer of the potting soil in the worm farm, and let nature take its course.




    Q14. After adding the instructed cup of water and waiting 10 minutes, there is still a 1/2 inch of water at the top and the worm we put in keeps trying to crawl out. Should there be standing water at the top, or should it be absorbed before we add more worms?

    A14. You may have quite heavy or clay-like soil. That would make worm burrowing slower and also make water stand on top. It is best to not put worms into standing water.
    SOLUTION 1: Try pushing holes through the top layer soil with your pipette to let the water drain into the sandy layers below. Then pop your worms in on top. This is OK, but worms do find it hard to burrow through clay.
    SOLUTION 2: If you put coloured sand on top, this sand is slightly waxy. Fine for use below ground, but it can 'repel' water for quite a while if on top. If so, just stir it up a bit with the dirt below and the water will drain in.
    SOLUTION 3: If may be your garden soil that is making the drainage slow, empty out your worm farm and start again. But this time pre mix your garden soil with regular sand and leaf mulch or compost - anything to make it lighter and more porous. You can even pre wet the soil to make it damp and load it into the worm farm with no more watering.




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