Worms Drizzled with Mustard… yum!

I can’t believe it has been so long since I posted. I’m blaming it on bloggers-block and overwork. However fear not I’ve got a real wowza for you today. I want you to go outside, find some grass, get down on your hands and knees and drizzle worms with mustard. Kinky eh but I bet you’re slightly intrigued?

Common Earthworm

No it’s not a new fetish I’ve developed in my blogging absense. My friend Hilly will be doing it, I’ll be doing it, in fact it’s hoped that thousands of people across the UK will be doing it and they will be doing it in March.

The Natural History Museum and Imperial College, London have launched an enormous nationwide worm survey and want as many people as possible to help them find out how many worms there are in our gardens, allotments, school grounds, playing fields, woodland and parklands and what species they are.

With the help of some diluted mustard and a spare 45 mins it will be a bit like the earthworm equivalent of the RSPB birdwatch weekend! The “worm scientists” (yes they do exist!) assure me that the mustard doesn’t hurt the worms but irritates them and brings them to the soil surface, making them easy to count.


So, from the 2nd March you will be able to download a worm pack giving you full survey instructions and a chart telling you what type of worms you have found.  They want anyone over 11 years of age to get involved (if you are 40, 50 or 60 something I think you are still allowed, but only if you have someone nearby who can help you get up off the ground!). However, if you are younger, you’d better ask an adult for help or ask one of your teachers if you can do a survey at school. The results then have to be input on the website (see link below) where you will be able to see how they compare with other areas across the country.

Worm Scientists are getting worried about our earthworms and believe that some species may be on the brink of extinction, so it’s well worth getting involved. Where would we be without worms? the champion recyclers and bringers of fertility to our soil!


In the meantime (while you are getting your mind and body ready for this epic event) you can find out a bit more by looking at the Soil and Earthworm Survey page at the Natural History Museum website or for some great fun kid stuff about worms have a look at Worm World. For example, did you know that we have Green Worms as well as Grey Worms and Common Earthworms? A worm isn’t just a worm you know!

I’m sure this topic will be “worming” it’s way back into this blog in March… so it would be great to know if you will be getting involved – leave me a comment below.

Lets hear it for the worms!


16 thoughts on “Worms Drizzled with Mustard… yum!

  1. Hi Paula. Yes the biome-obsessed should like this one! Hopefully he will get down on his knees and pray to the worms along with the rest of us in March…:)

  2. Hi Swamp4me. Not wanting to leave you out I will post the instruction on here in March, so if you want to join us you can drizzle worms in mustard as well! It might be interesting to see how many more/less worms you get than us!

  3. Worms with mustard – that sounds like fun! Our garden has no grass any more, or I’d give it a go. There are loads over the street after rain, but I’ve no idea where they come from.

    Love your fairy mane!!!

  4. Hi Jane,
    Loved the abstract posting. I think I will definitely give the worm challenge a go, especially if it helps to find out if some species are nearly extinct. It should be great fun! I wonder how many bloggers will take part

  5. Sounds like fun – I’ll have to give it a go. Just hope the worms don’t stay on the surface for too long or the local thrushes and blackbirds will expedite their extinction. Maybe the mustard will discourage the birds?

  6. Hi Joe. Look forward to hearing how you get on with the worm challenge. I will let you know the link to the download of the survey pack once they have it on the website.

  7. Hi Jan. Here is a reply to your comment from my friend Hilly, who will be helping me with my worm survey,

    “Don’t worry The mustard is going to be so dilute and will go right down into the depths of the soil.

    The instructions are to start off by digging a 20cm (8inch) square pit 10cm (4inches) deep. You then sort out all the earthworms you find in the soil that you have removed, identify them, carefully wash them off with clean water (if possible I would use rain water but it’s not essential as many of us water our gardens with tap water) and put them back on the soil surface nearby (not back in the pit).

    The next bit is where the mustard comes in. You mix one of the little tiny sachets of ready mixed mustard (I guess it contains about a teaspoonful so the mustard content will actually be quite low – not like mustard powder ) with 750ml (1 1/4 pints) of water and pour it into the pit. You then wait for it to drain down into the soil and collect any worms that come up to the surface. Once they have been identified you wash them carefully with clean water and put them back nearby.

    So no birds will actually have a chance of eating worms that have any mustard on them. If Jan has any remaining worries then she could always tip a bucket of water into the pit afterwards to dilute what was there even further after she has finished collecting the worms.

    It’s worth remembering that mustard is a member of the cabbage family which includes lots of wild species that have the same hot peppery taste including Rocket, Watercress, Wild Radish, Cuckoo Flower, Horse Radish, Candytuft, Hairy Bittercress and Shepherds Purse – the birds love the seeds of all of these even if gardeners don’t!”

    Many thanks Hilly… and I look forward to “washing worms”!!!

  8. Hi Bramblejungle. You will have to act as bird scarer while you do the survey! I know that my blackbirds and thrushes will be hopping around trying to get at mine! Good luck! Jane

  9. Mum says she might do this.. and she’ll ask my little mates Tom & James from next door if they want to join in. Their chickens will probably enjoy it too… I guess I’d better not tell you that mum sometimes digs a patch of soil over just to keep the robins happy! Teagan x

  10. Thanks Teagan that’s a brilliant idea! I’m sure Tom and James will love digging for worms! Oh, I do the same for the robins. It’s the way they look at you isn’t it. J x

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