Are you a gardener looking for an easy and effective way to invigorate your soil structure and provide natural fertilizer for your plants using nothing but organic matter? The answer may be as simple as introducing earthworms to your little paradise.
Earthworms are probably the best healthy soil amendment you can introduce to a garden. They improve garden soil not only through soil aeration and loosening but also because they increase nitrogen levels in the soil. So, composting worms is a no-brainer!
Read on to learn more about how these little wigglers can help you nourish a thriving oasis using nothing but organic matter!
Golden Digestive Tracts: Benefits of Earthworms In Your Garden
Is it good to put earthworms in your garden? Absolutely! Here’s an overview of all the ways earthworms can benefit your garden:
Earthworms Make A Great Organic Fertilizer
Earthworms release organic matter in the form of worm castings which acts as a great natural fertilizer for your garden. Every time it rains, or you water your plants, organic materials are washed away from the natural soil, leading to nutrient deficiency and decreased fertility.
These tiny creatures eat through a mixture of food scraps, dead leaves, and other plant debris, breaking them down and producing a rich organic compost perfect for nurturing plants and flowers. With some earthworm activity in the mix, their processing of decomposed vegetation increases nutrient retention by up to five times, providing for improved soil quality. So, do plants grow better with worms in the soil? It’s a resounding yes!
They Help pH Balance Your Soil
Earthworm populations in the soil improve the acidity or alkalinity of the environment by breaking down vitamins like Sulphur or Calcium carbonate into their basic forms and then releasing those minerals into their surrounding environment, helping to improve overall pH balance in soils naturally.
Furthermore, when worms digest grass clippings, they produce a carbon-rich worm compost pile that helps absorb any extra nutrients within the soil. It also has chelating properties that break down metal ions present naturally within clay particles that typically bind/lock nutrients away from plant roots meaning roots have less access to food sources when soils are too acidic or even too alkaline.
Earthworms Improve Soil Drainage
Earthworm burrows left in the ground help facilitate more efficient drainage within gardens, as well as help engineers speed up their drainage projects and processes. This makes gardens more resilient during heavy rainfall events or sudden floods due to underground channels created by these worms, quickly directing water away from vulnerable areas faster than any manually dug canals would ever do alone.
This is mainly due to them constantly churning up large amounts of leaf litter and organic waste – natural worm food, so any physical barriers between two bodies of water are being broken down much quicker than normal, increasing our nature’s ability at restoration and water infiltration over 6 times.
On top of that, worms also help retain moisture levels and keep your soil moist by mixing it with their castings (worm poop). These casts are full of organic matter that can hold up to 10 times its weight in moisture. The worm poop then breaks down into rich compost for your plants to use as nutrients throughout the growing season.
Earthworms Act As Natural Pest Control
Another wonderful benefit of having these beneficial critters around is their natural pest-control abilities. For example, many beetles feed on worm castings instead of plant matter, so if there’s more worm poop available, there’s a far less chance that hungry beetles will come around looking for something else delicious!
Additionally, since earthworm burrows allow air pockets beneath dense topsoils, this creates dry spaces under wet ones where other useful predators, such as predatory wasps and spiders, can move freely without getting washed out again after short bursts of heavy rain showers, further decreasing opportunities available for pest species nearby our delicate crops!
Worms can also help keep your garden healthy by eating insects or bacteria that might harm your plants. By feeding on these pests, worms help prevent them from harming your garden or spreading diseases between different plants.
Different Species of Earthworms: Which Types of Worms Is Best to Use?
With so many species of worms out there, how do you make your top pick? Which type of worm we’ll do the best job? Below, we break down some of the best worm species to put in your garden:
Garden worms are the most common type of earthworm found in gardens and lawns. They are brownish-yellow, about 2 to 4 inches long, and have a segmented appearance. They have no eyes or external ears. Garden worms are good for your garden because they aerate the soil and help break down organic matter into nutrients that plants can use.
When choosing the right worms for your garden, the red wigglers reign supreme. These hardworking critters are not only voracious composters, but they also help improve soil structure and increase the fertility of your soil. Plus, they’re super easy to care for and won’t make a run for the hills at the first sign of danger like some other worms might.
So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, high-impact addition to your garden, the red wigglers are the way to go! Just be careful not to mistake them for the common earthworm, who’s more suited for a leisurely life underground than existence in the compost bin.
Night crawlers are larger worms, a sub-species of worms known as subsoil dwellers, also called “dew worms” because they emerge at night. They are the worm cousin of the red wiggler worms or tiger worms, typically dark gray with a light tan stripe down their back.
Night crawlers will burrow deep into the soil during the day and come up at night to feed. However, night crawlers are not very good for your garden because they don’t do much work once they move down below ground level and surface soil.
Vermicomposting: Unleashing the Power of Earthworms
Vermicomposting is a fun and eco-friendly way to turn your kitchen scraps into gold for your garden! And trust us; your garden plants will thank you for it. Not only does vermicomposting reduce your waste and cut down on trips to the landfill, but it also produces a rich, nutrient-packed soil amendment that will give your plants the boost they need to thrive.
So, how do you get started with this wormy wonder? Here’s the skinny:
- Get yourself a worm bin. They come in all shapes and sizes, so choose one that fits your space and lifestyle.
- Fill your bin with bedding material, such as shredded newspaper or coconut coir.
- Add your kitchen scraps to the bin, being careful not to overload it with any one type of food (worms are picky eaters, you know).
- Toss in a handful of red wigglers (the superheroes of the vermicomposting world) and let them do their thing.
- Keep the bin moist and aerated, and voila! In a few short months, you’ll have rich, crumbly compost full of worm castings that your plants will absolutely adore.
How Many Earthworms Should I Put in My Garden?
It depends on the size of your garden and the desired outcome. As a general guideline, adding 1 pound of red wigglers per square foot of the garden bed is recommended. This translates to roughly 1,000-2,000 worms for a 4×8 foot raised bed.
However, it’s important to remember that earthworms are self-replicating and will naturally increase in number over time, so you don’t need to worry about adding too many all at once. Start with a smaller number and monitor the population to determine if you need to add more.
Should You Put Worms in Pots?
Yes, putting earthworms in pots is a great way to improve the soil quality and overall health of your potted plants with more abundant blooms and increased yields.
Simply add a layer of moistened soil or compost to the bottom of the pot, then add a small number of red wigglers. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not too wet, and feed your earthworms a variety of kitchen scraps and yard waste to keep them happy and healthy. Avoid sandy soils, as they prefer loamy soils.
Over time, you’ll notice a difference in the health and appearance of your plants, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping the environment by reducing waste and producing your own worm compost.
Can Earthworms Cause Damage?
Too many earthworms can damage delicate root systems and burrow too close to the surface, causing the soil to become unstable. However, these cases are typically the exception and not the norm.
In general, earthworms are incredibly beneficial to gardens and are unlikely to cause significant harm. To prevent any potential damage, it’s important to maintain proper soil moisture levels, provide adequate aeration, and regularly monitor the population of earthworms in your garden.
Should I Remove Earthworms from My Garden?
In general, removing earthworms from your garden is not necessary or recommended. Earthworms play an important role in improving soil health, aeration, and fertility, which benefits your plants and your garden’s overall health. Removing them would likely negatively affect the soil and could harm the plants growing in it.
That being said, if you find that earthworms are causing significant damage to your garden, such as damaging delicate root systems or burrowing too close to the surface, it may be necessary to remove some of them. In these cases, removing the damaged plants and reducing soil moisture levels can help reduce the damage caused by earthworms.
It’s important to remember that earthworms are a natural and integral part of a healthy garden ecosystem, and removing them should only be done as a last resort.
Wriggle Your Way to a Thriving Garden
Adding these garden-enhancing composters to your garden is a no-brainer. These wriggly little creatures play a vital role in maintaining soil health, improving drainage and fertility, and supporting plant growth. And the best part? They’re easy to incorporate into your gardening routine, requiring minimal effort and cost.
So when considering ways to give yourself an edge when creating and maintaining a successful garden, introducing some helpful wriggly friends might just be exactly what you’re looking for! Why not order a worm kit and let these underground heroes help your garden reach its full potential?
The math is simple – lots of worms in your garden equal lots of happy plants and vegetables!