“Earthworms are the workers of the soil and are sometimes called nature’s plow. Their job is very important for the quality of soil and also decomposition.”
This video shows how to produce the maximum number of earthworms in your garden. Follow the links below the video for details. Strive to create the conditions of a dairy pasture in order to get the maximum 500 worms/square yard. To achieve this you want continuous roots in the ground, leguminous and herbaceous cover crops that create lots of plant residues, add lots of manure, mulch etc. as they explain. This is exactly what we’re doing in our garden by gradually adding organic material in layers, which is called composting in place. Not only does this add lots of nutrients to the soil, it also provides food for worms and creates an ideal worm habitat. Using this gardening method, the worm population can double or triple every year. Our worms are multiplying fast now. Just imagine the garden in a few years! I am so glad that I decided to compost in place to encourage native worms rather than laboriously raising earthworms in a separate worm farm. Let nature do the work. This is a big step toward a ‘do nothing garden’, one of the key benefits of forest gardening.
A few tips gleaned from the links below the video:
– Keep the soil moist but not soggy. No tilling because it destroys their habitat!
– The ideal soil is well aerated and loose, and not too sandy.
– Gradually add organic materials such as compost, leaves, hay, straw and other plant residues to feed the worms. This organic material is ranked as the most important factor for proliferating the number of worms. In other words, food availability is the main limiting factor.
– Strive to create a fungal dominant garden. Worms derive most of their food from the bacteria and fungi that grow on decomposing organic matter.
– Manure is an excellent food source for worms. Imagine creating a lush prairie covered with roving bison herds. That’s what you want.
– Add nutrient rich materials such leucaena leaves and vetiver for green mulch and food for the worms. (I’m planning to get a cart to pull behind my motorcycle so I can gather free leaves along the roads.)
– Don’t add thick layers of green leaves or the soil could turn anaerobic and stinky due to too much nitrogen. You want to keep the garden aerobic.
– Grow continuous cover crops that include leguminous plants. They can be grown as an intensive polyculture or chopped into the soil and replanted so there are always roots in the ground.
Things to avoid:
– Avoid walking on garden beds and compacting the soil.
– Keep adding new compost and plant residues on the surface. Don’t let the surface became barren or the worms will have no food or shelter.
– Don’t use commercial fertilizer or pesticides because it acidifies the soil and harms the worms.
– The lowest number of worms is in fallow soils. No roots, no organic matter, no worms = dead soil with no aeration.