Worms play a critical role in our ecosystem. In fact, it’s argued that worms play the single most important role in our ecosystem. That’s really saying something special about our underground allies.
Worms are wonder creatures. They do so many things that help our soils remain clean and fertile. They’re nature’s natural recyclers! Here are a few of the ways that worms help enrich the earth’s soil.
They Dig Pathways
Worms like to move. If you’ve ever sat and watched one before, that’ll be the first conclusion you draw about them! When worms move through the earth’s soil, they create open pathways that allow air and water to get into the soil and this makes the soil healthy and fertile.
Since plants need both oxygen and water, the subterranean pathways or “pores” that worms create allow plant roots to get more oxygen and water, helping them grow healthy and strong. It also helps plant roots to penetrate deeper!
They Recycle Waste
Worms can eat anywhere from half to their full body weight in food daily. This means they are eating all the time, in fields, in gardens, in pastures, in orchards, you name it. Worms like to eat plant litter like fallen leaves, decomposing fruit and other organic matter. They even like eating decomposing animal dung!
They Excrete Compost
After a worm eats, it poops. Yeah, so what? Well did you know that worm castings (poop) make the best fertilizer there is? Nothing compares. You can’t buy fertilizer at the store that even comes close to comparing to the rich, organic compost created by worms. The best worms at creating compost are red wigglers or red worms. These worms are most often used in worm farms and compost bins because they are very efficient composters!
Some of the important nutrients that worm castings unlock are phosphorus and nitrogen. Studies have shown that soils with worm activity have five times more nitrogen than soil without worms [source].
They Provide Food For Other Creatures
Worms are a main source of food for birds and some land snails.
Hopefully, the next time you are walking along a pathway and notice a little worm struggling to make its way around, you will help them along out of appreciation for the good that our worm friends do for our ecosystem!