Waste Management Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Kyra Moore

Along with recycling food wastes, worms play the important role of moving and mixing soil. Worm burrows help make the soil looser. The burrows also let air into the soil. Plant roots and animals that live in the soil use the air. The burrows also allow rain water to drain into the soil. Plants use this water to live and grow. You can make a simple worm farm to see how worms move and mix soil. Below are a list of materials and simple directions.


  • glass jar (quart size or larger)
  • soil
  • sand
  • worms
  • hammer and large nail
  • dark cloth
  • uncooked oatmeal.


Put a one-inch layer of moist soil into the glass jar. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of oatmeal on top of the soil. Add a one-inch layer of moist sand. Continue this sequence until there is about 2 inches of open space left in the jar with the last layer being soil. Place about 20 worms in the jar.

Don’t add any uncooked oatmeal on the final layer of soil. Punch holes in lid of jar with hammer and nail. Don’t punch holes into the lid when it is on the jar! Cover the jar with the dark cloth. Place the worm farm somewhere not in direct sunlight. After a week, remove the dark cloth and observe how the worms have mixed the soil and sand in their search for food.

Keep your worms happy

Always keep your worms cool and moist. Be careful not to make the soil too wet, or your worms may drown. Every six weeks or so, add a small amount of oatmeal for your worms to eat.

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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