Earthworms

Though rarely seen on the soil surface, earthworms are some of the best helpers you can have in your garden. Sometimes called “nature’s plows,” earthworms push through the earth, allowing the flow of air and water that lets plants grow.


Though rarely seen on the soil surface, earthworms are some of the best helpers you can have in your garden. Sometimes called “nature’s plows,” earthworms push through the earth, allowing the flow of air and water that lets plants grow.

One of the best things earthworms give back to the soil are their castings. As earthworms feed on organic matter in the earth, the food passes through their bodies and comes out as a wonderful, nutrient-rich fertilizer.

The burrows that earthworms create when they move through the soil not only prevent soil erosion and provide a way for water and oxygen to meet plant roots, but they ensure that organic material is distributed through different levels of the soil. As the worms eat, they bring bits of organic matter into the burrows with them.

Earthworms love to eat nitrogen-rich compost, and their need to feed can actually speed up the composting process through a practice called vermicomposting, or composting with worms. While earthworms love natural fertilizers, apply synthetic, inorganic fertilizer with caution. The chemicals can wreak havoc on the natural balance in the soil environment.

Earthworms are most active when the soil is cool and damp, and they slow down during hot temperatures. The level where they burrow depends on soil moisture; they go deeper in dry soil and stay at the surface in very wet soil. You’ll usually see earthworms above the soil after a heavy rain because they leave their flooded burrows to get air.

 

 

Comments

Comments are closed.