Earthworms are organisms that we all know. Majority of us, when we were younger, were introduced to that slimy and gooey things and we learned either to like or dislike them. Other names given to this creature are fisherman’s friend, gardener’s buddy and earth diggers’ delight. Earthworms are generally loved by most people. Earthworms are of various types ranging from red wigglers to night crawlers. Earthworms have long been characterized with healthy and productive soil.
What are Benefits of Earthworms Your Garden Soil
Earthworms are beneficial to gardeners in many ways and are commonly found in healthy organic soils. Many people believe that worms feed on dirt, but in real sense, they actually feed on the bacteria and fungi that are produced on decomposed matter and release ‘worm castings’ which can be called manure that contained the nutrients plants love.
Earthworms are categorized into more than 7,000 species, further sub categorized into 23 families and have over 700 genera. All of these worms perform one major function, which is, tilling and aerating the soil naturally. They hasten up the decomposition (composting) process, they assist to mix soils for more benefits, and they are excellent performer at monitoring soils’ health.
Red wigglers are commonly known with compost, as they live mostly in compost heaps and are the ones used mostly for vermin composting (composting involving worms). They are better and faster at the job than any other organism.
Increasing Earthworms in Your Garden Soil
We all know that worms could be purchased in pounds from many garden stores and spread them on the garden. This method will only work temporarily and will not be as beneficial as expected since worms are in high demand throughout all season.
Encouraging worms naturally is the best way. It’s a case of “if you build it, they will come” as in the better your soil for worm habitat, the more worms that will live in it. You don’t need to add worms, just encourage them to be there and they’ll show up on their own.
First, worms love soils that contain more of organics with a lot of nutrients and a zero acidity level. Begin the process by carrying out primary tests on your soil if you have the ability or better still, add sufficient amount of organic matter to it. Dig the organics deeply into the soil and then add more at the top. Either growing material which could be cover crops like clover or buckwheat or mulch which are straws, clipped grass, leaves and other quality mulches will work best for this purpose. Add light water and dig in manure into the soil at intervals.
After a few weeks, perhaps two months, dig a cubic foot of soil and examine how many worms are in it. You should notice a marked increase. By the end of the season, you should not only have a lot of worms per foot, but also have very rich, healthy soil.
Once the soil is healthy, just maintain it and the worms will stay, no matter what you’re growing in it. An added bonus is that the great soil will not only grow huge yields, but by periodically checking the worms in it, you can tell if something might be going wrong when the worms start leaving.
Maintaining a Healthy Environment for Earthworms in the Soil
Worms, as said earlier, love nutrient-rich, healthy soil. If you keep adding compost and mulches regularly, you’ll always have great soil. The worms will become part of its ecosystem.