Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All Worms Are Not Created Equal

I've heard it many times before. People want to buy worms to put in their gardens. But it doesn't work that way.

There are soil dwellers and there are composting worms. They are not the same.

I just had a customer the other day order a pound of worms. Once she got them she emailed me and indicated she had put them in the soil. I wrote her back and said, "Please tell me you did your homework and that you did not put your composting worms in the soil." Her response was, "I did not do my homework and put them in the dirt....Next time I will read the web site."

Soil dwellers are burrowers. They burrow a deep hole in the soil and attach themselves then stretch out to the surface to search for organic matter dragging a piece down into the burrow to eat. Soil dwellers spend more time burrowing than eating.

Hint: the eating is what produces the castings.

The composters are consumers. They continually move through organic matter eating as they go. That's what they do, day in and day out. Eat, mate, and make babies. Thusly, they need to be in organic matter, aka: leaf pile, manure pile, compost pile...

Please don't put your composters in the soil. They will starve or they will go looking for food. They will not help your soil by being in it.

In this picture you can see the layers in the compost bin. The top layer is composting leaves and shredded newspaper. The worms are concentrated in this top layer. The lower layer is the finished material the worms have already worked. This material is 50/50 worm castings and "compost". If there was not fresh material on top for the worms to eat they could go back and eat the "compost" and even their castings again and derive more nutrition from it. The can not, will not eat soil.

Happy, successful worming,


A site I found to share:

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