If you care for your garden, then you will know all about earthworms and their pros and cons. These tiny earthworm garden tillers sift the soil, so it doesn’t have to be disturbed in an unnatural way. While the word ‘worm’ may conjure up unpleasant feelings or thoughts, earthworms can actually be a good thing for your garden and your soil.
Think of earthworms as your loyal co-workers when working in a garden. Their castings add nutrient-rich, organic matter to the soil. As they tunnel through the dirt, they create space for air and water to reach the roots.
They also loosen dense soils so roots have an easier time moving through them as they grow. And the increased amount of organic material that earthworms add to the soil improves the soil’s ability to hold water. This can be a huge benefit to your soil and your garden overall, so it is only right that we tell you how to attract more of the little guys into your garden!
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The 5 Easy Steps to Attracting More Earthworms
1. Begin by taking 1-2 pounds of cornmeal per 20 square feet of garden and sprinkling it around. You should look to have a good amount of meal spread out across the soil. Look to mix the cornmeal into the top 2-3 inches of soil using a shovel so that when it attracts the earthworms, they can work their magic in the soil itself.
2. Water the areas that you have covered with cornmeal regularly so that the soil mixture is moist. The goal is moist but not wet soil, because wet soil will repel the worms (it drowns them). Continue to monitor the soil closely because on the opposite side, if you don’t water the soil enough, it will become too dry and will dry out the earthworms.
3. Be patient! The soil/corneal combination needs about 3-5 weeks to produce enough bacteria to attract the earthworms in the first place.
4. Be Consistent! After this 3-5 week period, look to keep adding 1-2 pounds of cornmeal to the soil every two weeks, continuing to mix it in with the soil.
5. Monitor your garden periodically for an increase in earthworm activity, both from earthworms that you’ve attracted to your garden and from their offspring. If you’re not seeing much new activity, add live worms that you can buy in a bait store. Be sure to gently cover the worms with a little moist soil to keep them from drying out before they make their way into the soil.
Feeding your Worms
Many people suggest that you need to buy worm food in order to keep earthworms alive and kicking, but this is actually not true. You are very likely to have great worm food right at home! For one, raw fruit and veg scraps can be great worm food, similarly, plant-based materials or even lint from your dryer can be consumed by these little creatures. The beauty of this, is that it prevents you from having to buy worm food from your pet store.
There is however, a certain rubric that should be followed when it comes to foods you should avoid feeding earthworms. We would suggest that you avoid feeding them any meat, dairy, or products with oil. This is because they are far more difficult to break down and can be very bad for the worms. Look to steer clear of feeding them cooked foods, especially ones with a lot of oil or butter. Finally, avoid feeding them anything that is high in salt, because again, it can be harder to break down and can harm the worms.
Caring for the Earthworm
There are 5 things that earthworms really like, and once you manage to get a few in your garden, this will act as a quick and easy guide on how to care for them and keep them there.
- Old newspaper or cardboard: Yes, shredding or soaking cardboard or newspaper provides dampness that will keep earthworms around.
- Moist Soil: If you are a keen gardener, then this is common sense. Worms are primarily made up of water, so they do thrive in moist conditions, but like anything too much water can be detrimental. Seeing as worms breathe through their skin, having soil that is too wet can drown them. Water your soil consistently, but don’t go overboard, or you will undo all of your hard work.
- The right pH levels: You can buy pH testing kits in a range of places, so be sure to keep an eye on how acidic or alkaline your soil is, because studies show that earthworms survive in soil with a pH level between 5 and 8. However, 7 is a neutral pH and is optimal however
- A Warm climate: 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit to be precise. Gardeners will naturally see fewer worms in the summer and more in the fall, and the worms will burrow deeper into the soil during the winter. Be mindful of this when looking to attract earthworms, it is all about the time of the year. While you may not be able to control the temperature where you live, you can at least make the situation work in your favour
- A good and loamy soil that is not too sandy will not only provide great conditions for the worms, but will attract more over time.
Is there an easy way to attract Earthworms to my Garden?
Yes, by using cornmeal and watering it on your lawn, after a while you will begin to notice that earthworms are coming to your garden. This is because earthworms love to feed on cornmeal.
What is an earthworm?
An earthworm is a burrowing annelid worm that lives in the soil, important in aerating and draining the soil and in burying organic matter.
Is an earthworm a vertebrae?
An earthworm is an invertebrate animal with a long, stretchy body and no legs. It is a type of annelid. There are 5,500 known species of worms. They can be found everywhere, except in polar or dry climates. Their sizes vary: they can be between two centimetres and about three meters in length.
Why are earthworms so important?
Earthworms are among the most visible soil organisms and have received considerable attention. They play a pivotal role in maintaining the productivity of our soils. This makes understanding these lowly animals and finding ways to make them thrive very important.
Where do earthworms come from?
Earthworms are among the most visible of soil organisms and have received considerable attention. They play a pivotal role in maintaining the productivity of our soils. This makes understanding these lowly animals and finding ways to make them thrive very important.