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Worms, Worms, Worms

May 30th, 2013

Back in Ohio, the earthworm population in our garden was just starting to grow thanks to our organic gardening methods and our use of leaf mulch each fall.  Each year, I would still purchase Encapsulated Earthworm Cocoons to increase the worm populations. Last year I had a container that never got planted, they made the trip with us in a box with the rest of our fridge contents.
worm cacoons 2
I planted them on Tuesday. This is a great way to jump start the worm population in your garden if you’re bringing it back from the dead and increasing soil fertility.

Other things you can do to help increase the worm populations:

  • mulch with leaf litter each fall
  • don’t till or work the soil
  • avoid chemical fertilizers and herbicides at all costs
  • trench compost your kitchen scraps

worm cacoons 1
We seem to have a decent worm population here, though the chickens eat their share of them. No doubt the more we start mulching with chopped leaves and the longer the soil goes without too much tilling/working, the more robust the earthworm population will be. They are such valuable assets in the garden, well worth the effort to encourage them!

Do you notice lots of worms in your garden?

10 Comments to “Worms, Worms, Worms”
  1. daisy on May 30, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Thanks for the link. I’m wondering if red wigglers from a local bait shop would do the same thing?
    What is trench composting?
    Another idea is the French Drain system. I read about it on The Redeemed Gardener. It’s basically PVC pipes which have holes toward the bottom for the worms to get in and out of. After placing the pipes in the corners of a raised bed, scraps are added right into the pipes and the worms bless your garden with good stuff.

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on May 30, 2013 at 6:21 am

      Trench composting is simply digging a trench and adding your kitchen waste directly to it, then covering it up with soil. Depends on the area you live in whether red wrigglers would work for you or not, they most likely won’t survive winters in cold areas.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Robin on May 30, 2013 at 6:23 am

      If you naturally have red wigglers in your soil adding more won’t hurt. Otherwise, introducing a non-native species isn’t a good idea. I’d add lots of organic matter so the native worms have plenty to eat and add any worms you find in the yard (great worm “hunting” after a heavy rain) to the garden.

      Reply to Robin's comment

      • Robin on May 30, 2013 at 6:25 am

        I forgot to add that I had no idea that’s what cocoons look like! Very cool.

        to Robin's comment

  2. Jennifer Fisk on May 30, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of worms in my garden this year especially in the piles of bunny berries that accumulated over the winter. At one time, I kept a “can o worms” but once I had chickens all kitchen scraps went to them so no more food for the worms. I did get some great “tea” though.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  3. Songbirdtiff on May 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I have been thinking about trench composting our scraps. It would eliminate the big ugly composter close to the house (I could use one in the back of the garden for those bits.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  4. Elyse on May 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

    We’ve seen a few worms when we’ve had cause to dig in the yard, so that’s promising! None in the raised bed, as we put down a layer of weed cloth. We thought about putting a few in, but didn’t want to be cruel and cause them to starve, in case there wasn’t enough food for them in the bed and they couldn’t get out?

    Reply to Elyse's comment

  5. Rhonda on May 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I’m fortunate to have LOTS of worms! You can’t put a trowel in the ground without out having one or two worms in the scoop.

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. Jennifer Krieger on May 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I’ve been working the soil here (LA suburb) for about 10 years, and the worms are pretty good. This year I started a worm farm and it’s coming right along. I can always find worms underneath the compost heap.

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

  7. Colleen on May 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Yes, we are blessed with lots of worms. You have mentioned worm cocoons before, I had no idea there were worm cocoons or what they looked like, thanks for sharing. I learn new things from you almost every day.

    Reply to Colleen's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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