SILVER

Worms N' Dirt

How Worms Help Plants Grow
Adele Courtnage
Grade 5

Hypothesis

Our hypothesis is that the pot "worm + worm poo" will grow the most because the worms produce airways for the plant to breathe and the worms will produce additional castings (worm poo).

 

Research

The question we are trying to answer is which category of soil will help your plant grow the most, the categories are worm + worm poo, worm poo, dirt and worms + dirt.

For the project we chose Red Wiggler worms and their castings. 

This type of worms are the most popular and easiest for composting. No worms were harmed during the project and in fact the worms were fed and kept moist and the worms were happy and happily multiplied and created a very good compost. 

Facts about Red Wigglers:

1. They do not have eyes

2. They are the most preferred type of worms for composting

3. They live 2 to 5 years

4. They eat almost any kitchen scraps (no oil, no citrus and no meats)

5. They will multiply in the bin until there are too many of them

6. They have no bones and composed of 90% of water

7. The process of using worms for compost is called Vermicomposting

8. Worm castings are full of very amazing nutrients that help plants grow and stay healthy. The castings are created by worms digesting the food and pooping it out. 

 

Variables

Our experiment tested with different pots filled with:

  • worms + worm poo
    • We chose Red Wigglers type of worms as they are known as some of the best composting worms available.
  • worm poo
    • Or worm castings are very beneficial to the plants and are full of necessary nutrients. How are they created? By worms eating the organic materials(food scraps, cardboard, coffee grounds etc). Nutrients, including minerals and trace elements, are reduced to their most usable form. 
    • We have made our own worm castings!!!!!
  • dirt
    • We used most basic potting soil and made sure it didn't contain nutrients from worm castings
  • worms + dirt
    • A mixture of potting soil and red wiggler worms

 

Procedure

The procedure for the experiment:

  1. Prepare the seeds by keeping them in moist paper towel until they sprout.
  2. Once the seeds sprouted, fill 8 plant pots: 2 with worm poo, 2 with dirt, 2 with worms + dirt and 2 with worms + worm poo.
  3. Plant 2 bean seeds in each pot and water them regularly.
  4. Every day give each pot the same amount of sun and water. Due to completing the project in February, we used 2 grow lights
  5. Observe  the changes and the growth of the plants and measure daily
  6. Record the changes in the length, thickness and leaves size of the plants
  7. Ananlyze the results.

 

Observations

Things we observed are:

  1. All the categories except "Dirt" sprouted on the same day (day 3). "Dirt" took longer to come up.
  2. The pots that have worms grow taller.
  3. The pot "worm poo" was thicker than others that is usually a good indicator of a healthy plant.
  4. We noticed that the pot with dirt is not growing as fast because the dirt is more compact than other soil mixes so it could be hard for seeds to sprout.
  5. We found that worm + worm poo’s leaves are crumbled which sometimes happens in the early stages of bean plant growth.

 

 

Analysis

Plant Thickness Over Time

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Measurements of the plant thickness over time reveal that the pot with worms + worm poo produced the thickest plant.

Leaf Size Over Time

 Screen Shot 2021-03-09 at 7.48.31 PM.png

Measurements of the plant leaf size over time reveal that the pot with worms + dirt produced the longest leaves, while worms + worm poo produced the shortest leaves.

Plant Height Over Time

Screen Shot 2021-03-09 at 7.48.07 PM.png

Measurements of the plant height over time reveal that worms + dirt produced the tallest plants, while dirt producted the shortest plants.

Conclusion

Based on our data, we made the conclusion that worms + dirt had the tallest plant, worms + worm poo had the thickest and worms + dirt had the longest leaves. Worms + dirt performed the best in multiple measurements, therefore this category of soil will help your plant grow the best.

 

Application

Worm castings have been increasingly used from agriculture to everyday gardening to indoor plants. Using worm castings is affordable and good for plants and good for the earth. Earthworms keep the soil healthy and full of nutrients which reduces the use of chemicals.  Producing worm castings also reduces the amount of garbage that can go to a landfill because worms are a fast and natural way to compost most organic materials like vegetables, foods, some  cardboards and papers, coffee grounds and egg shells. 

We would like to do this project in the summer to be able to observe ALL the stages of plant growth and see how many beans each plant would produce. 

We would also like to compare the use of worms and worms castings to a plant growing using conventional feralizers like Nitrogen and Phosphorus.

Sources Of Error

We could only judge the plants by their current size and growth. If we had more time and more sunshine and bees, we would be able to tell which soil type was most beneficial if we measured the amount of beans/crops produced by the plants. 

Acknowledgement

1. My partner Alex

2. My partner Adele

3. My(Adele's) mother who made the worm castings and fed the worms

4. Our teacher, Mr. Masuch

5. My(Adele) dad who taught me how to make charts