Earthworms are like a boon to the garden soil, as their digging and casting activities are greatly beneficial for the quality of your garden. That’s why earthworm casting is called black gold by organic farmers/gardeners.
A healthy population of earthworms in your garden results in better texture and soil structure and nutrient-rich soil. Also, earthworm activities in your garden make your soil moist and aerated with improved drainage. This makes your plants happy with a healthy root system.
Moreover, they burrow tiny holes in the yard soil, it makes the nutrients and water easily accessible for the roots of your garden plants.
Consequently, it is superfluous to say that having earthworms in their garden is hugely beneficial for any gardener, who desires to boost the growth of their garden plants organically.
So, here we are suggesting a few simple yet effective ways to encourage this friendly worm in your garden. let’s take a quick look at them-
Quick Overview: Get Earthworms In Your Garden
How earthworms are beneficial:
- The presence of earthworms accelerates the decomposition process.
- Earthworm castings are nutrient-rich organic matter that nourishes your garden plants.
- Earthworm activities increase soil aeration and water infiltration.
- Breaks soil compaction, Improves soil texture and structure resulting in well-drained soil for a better root system.
- Improves its water holding capacity retaining soil moisture and stimulates micro-organism activity for healthy soil.
- Earthworm castings are rich in NPK, magnesium, and calcium.
- Neutralize the soil pH
How much do earthworms eat per day? A normal worm would eat half or up to full of its weight each day. Which would means 1000 worms weighing 300gms would eat 150 to 250gms of decaying matter and produce the same amount of castings. If you are looking at the count for your vermicompost bin, you add the scraps at once and leave them unattended for weeks together.
Earthworm activities in dry summer and freezing winter: Earthworms enter a dormant stage called estivation in summer and hibernate in freezing winter months.
They dig deep and make themself into a ball with a slimy coating. Once the soil turns favorite becoming moist enough in summer or thaw in winter, they return back to their work.
What do earthworms love to eat: Earthworms are demanding in nature ( :D) they eat whatever is available on their table. Yeah anything that’s decaying, leaves, organic matter, rotting logs, aged mulch, etc…
But, earthworms love partially composted manure, fruit peels, veggie scraps like pumpkin, melons, banana peels, leafy vegetable scraps. You can al add cardboard and shredded paper for your garden worms to munch on.
What earthworms hate in a garden or compost bin:
- Avoid adding pungent-smelling food scraps like onion and garlic.
- Don’t add processed carbs, oily, greasy, spicy, and salty food wastes.
- Don’t use dairy, meat scraps in your yard as it will attract pests rather earthworms.
- Avoid citrus fruits and peels in your worm bin or garden.
- Hot or uncomposted manure may heat and kill worms.
- Avoid plastics and plastic-coated cardboard.
- Don’t overwater your garden, as undrained wet soil will suffocate these little ones.
Sunlight for earthworms: No earthworms don’t need or like sunlight. As heat takes away the moisture makes it hard for the worm to survive. So keep your worm bins in a shady place to cover it. Also, mulching your garden soil will help the worms to stay cool under surface.
Earthworm population and life: Earthworms normally live between 2 to 8 years and grow from 6inches up to a foot in length. Earthworms can reproduce by the 3rd to 4th month. And they lay eggs that hatch within 35 to 60 days’ time. Literally, Worms’ population goes double up every 3months.
Are earthworms bad? There is not bad or good with regards to an earthworm’s activity. While the place brands its name to be bad or good. For gardeners and farmers, earthworms are friends who eat decaying matter and enrich the soil.
while it turns out to be bad for a forest with an invasive population of earthworms and its activities take away the organic matter and nutrients get leeched away.
This affects the ecosystem of a forest affecting the insects which depend on that decaying matter which in turn affects the reptiles that depend on it.
How to Attract and Encourage Earthworms in Your Garden
Keep your garden soil moist and cool
To make the soil condition attractive for the earthworms keep the top surface wet. Watering your plants regularly and keeping the surroundings moist will do the trick.
Earthworms are very much fond of a moist and cool environment.
Avoid tilling your soil
Tilling increases aeration in your soil while reducing the organic matter and interrupting the food source of earthworms. Worms do the aeration and soil enrichment better than tilling.
Tilling vibrations are uncomfortable for the earthworms either they move to the surface and become prey for birds or diminish in population.
Instead of tilling, you can insert large forks in your soil shake lightly to loosen your garden soil. This way loosening soil doesn’t alter the organic matter and hurt the earthworms.
Mulch your plants with a proper mulching component that could retain the moisture in the soil for an extended period. This way you don’t need to water your garden regularly to make the soil adequately tender and moist.
Earthworms love to shelter below these spots as the top layer protects the surface from sunlight and it tends to be cooler than its surrounding.
Keep your garden free from chemicals
Keep your garden plants any kind of chemical-free, as earthworms wouldn’t like to visit a place that feels toxic for them. Hence, use only organic or homemade pesticides, fungicides, or anti-repellent products in your garden plant, when you are trying to encourage earthworms in your garden.
Have an open to the bottom compost bin
Arrange an open compost bin in your garden, to allure earthworms to your yard easily. The best part is that these earthworms by getting attracted to those junks, aid to break down those piles more quickly than the usual period of time.
Create a leaf mold and keep it moist
Leaf pile is a great way to attract these helpful worms to your garden area. Simply pile some old leaves of your garden plants in a particular spot and keep them moist and let them sit there for months.
This leaf mold is a great element for earthworms to feed on and get their required nutrients naturally and the output is a valuable organic matter for your garden.
Create worms towers in your garden with home waste.
Arrange some preferable food sources for earthworms and they will love to stay in your garden area for an extended period of time.
Also, Creating worm stations, worm towers near plants with normal home-waste like vegetable scraps, decaying piles, fruit peels, and composted manure. This attracts the worms and worms castings will be directly accessible for your garden plants.
Grow a veggie garden on the ground
Earthworms love the decaying matter left after vegetable gardening and they feed on those unwanted waste to quench their hunger.
So, growing veggies on the ground (rather on raised beds) is another tempting effort for encouraging earthworms in your yard.
Therefore, creating a ground-based vegetable garden, will naturally attract the worms to your garden and enhance the soil organically, without damaging any crops or growing part of your plants from any aspect!
Give a try on no-dig garden
Try to maintain your garden soil with no-dig or minimum-dig quality as long as you can. As little as you can dig your garden soil, it would be much tempting for earthworms to burrow for their natural habitat.
Cheers and happy gardening…