Earthworms are often referred to as “nature’s plow.” These squiggly, squishy creatures wiggle their way through the soil, helping to aerate your lawn and promote healthy plant growth. For reasons such as this, earthworms are an organic gardener’s best friend. If you’re invested in your lawn and garden, stay educated on the benefits of earthworm gardening and how you can promote them to help keep your garden in tip-top shape.
The great thing is that just by living in your garden, earthworms are helping. They spend their days wiggling through soft soil. When the soil is hard, they eat their way through. Over time, all this earthworm transit leaves a web of interconnected burrows throughout the yard. In many cases, these burrows will run several feet deep. They help to add air and moisture deep into the lawn, which mimics raking or plowing a yard. The introduction of air and moisture is what helps roots to grow and plants to absorb the maximum amount of nutrition.
While they’re on their mission, earthworms will leave behind pin-sized waste dropping, called castings. These castings act as a great natural fertilizer for your yard. They add a number of different nutrients that plants may not otherwise get naturally. This is part of why organic and natural gardeners are so fond of earthworms. They create a natural balance to help gardens thrive and grow without the need to add any chemicals or artificial fertilizers.
Promoting Earthworm Gardening
One of the best ways to promote earthworms in your garden is to add mulch or compost that’s rich in nitrogen. You can even compost your own kitchen scraps to add to your garden – but be mindful that certain types of scraps may attract pests like bugs and rodents. Adding mulch helps to attract a larger species of earthworm called L. terrestris, which are often referred to as “night crawlers.” As suggested by the name, they’re primarily active at night.
Earthworms and other types of worms are often used to create compost for gardens. This process is called vermicomposting. In vermicomposting, worms are kept in concentrated bins where they create vermicast, or castings used for gardening purposes. Studies show that vermicast has an average of seven times more natural plant nutrients than compost that is created by bacteria or fungi. Studies also show that a small amount of vermicompost mixed into natural soil can help to decrease the occurrence of slugs and insects.