Vermicompost at Umana

Sifting through the compost to find the red wigglers.

A few weeks ago, Eastie Farm taught a lesson on worm composting to continue our series on different ways to compost with the kids at the Mario Umana Academy. This lesson was taught alongside FoodCorps service member Meghan Hoyne Wingate and Miranda from Bootstrap Compost. We touched on worm composting when the kids came over to the farm late last year so they had a good base of information.

Finally getting enough courage to put the worm in her palm.

We started the lesson by fielding any questions the kids had about worms in general or about how these worms would turn their food scraps into compost suitable for use in a garden. Questions like “Do worms have eyes?” and “Can’t you cut a worm in half and it’ll regrow?” were popular in all three classes.

Jackie dove right in to show the kids that the worms don’t bite!

The kids answered the first question on their own by using the looking glasses, figuring out that worms do not have eyes and instead smell their way through the dirt. They realized that even if they had eyes it wouldn’t do them much good because it’s dark underground. Miranda asked a few key questions about the anatomy of the worm in order for the kids to answer the regrowing question. After identifying a head and a tail, they agreed that worms wouldn’t be able to regrow, since the organs aren’t equal on both sides. This was justified after we showed them a graphic of the worms’ anatomy.

Everybody picked a worm and some paper before gently setting the worm in their new home

We set up the worm factory at the end of class and added their new red wiggler worms. Before we parted, the kids learned what and how to feed the worms. The smaller and mushier the better! They especially love anything in the cucurbit family, so melons are a great treat for them. Since we learned that worms breathe through their skin, harsher smells like citrus and the allium family are best left outside the worm bin.

Putting a worm factory to good use

We’ll have them come to the farm some time in spring to use their new compost on the next round of crops!

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