Our gardens are filled with all critters great and small.
The summer brings beautiful butterflies and bees.
Spiders flourish all year round.
Dragonflies make their appearance with their beautiful iridescent wings…. And then we have the worm.
These wriggly little things might not look as pretty as the butterfly, or as cool as the spider, but don’t let that scare you off. These little guys can be really beneficial for your garden, and this article is here to tell you how.
Our gardens – whether they be perfectly pruned with flowers, veggies, and bushes or overgrown with weeds and brambles – all have very delicate ecosystems.
Some garden ecosystems are, of course, healthier than others. The way to check the ecosystem of your garden is by looking at the soil. More specifically, you should look for the inhabitants of your soil…
That’s right! Your garden soil has its own inhabitants, and among many is the humble earthworm. If earthworms are present in your soil you can give yourself a pat on the back because it just so happens that your garden is likely to have a very healthy ecosystem.
So, how exactly do these greedy little gardeners help us out?
Earthworms are attracted to the nutrients that are in your soil because that is what sustains them.
This may sound like a bad thing, as though the worms are stripping your soil of its much-needed nutrients, in turn starving your plants and anything you have growing there. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Earthwormwork super hard – they are some of the hardest working critters around! You can think of them as free help! Whilst they gain nutrients from our soil, they actually give back even more nutrition.
All of the nutrients they consume create what is known as ‘worm castings’. These castings are, in basic terms, worm poop. As gross as this may seem, this worm poop is like free fertilizer for your garden and is completely organic.
Worm castings provide your soil with some much-needed nutrition, and due to the process of the worm’s body breaking these nutrients down, it will be much easier for the soil to absorb. It is thought that these castings improve plant growing quality, seed germination, and even fruit production.
As well as this, there is some evidence that these castings can even help to fight plant diseases such as root rot, crown rot, and even deter pests.
As well as worms’ productive poop habits, they also help out our gardens in other ways. As worms make their way around our gardens, they do so by tunneling.
These tiny little tunnels occur as the worms go in a hunt for decaying organic matter and soil nutrients to eat. Whilst these tunnels may just seem like a cool form of transportation for our wiggly wonders, they actually serve a really helpful purpose.
The tunnels made by worms have all sorts of benefits. They provide aeration for the soil, which means that the oxygen levels in the soil are increased.
Any plants growing in this soil, or even your lawn grass will be hugely benefitted by this extra oxygen. It ensures the soil can be even more nutrient-rich, which will in turn improve the fertility of your soil. We all know fertile soil produces a fruitful harvest!
As well as aeration, these tunnels can also improve the drainage in your soil. The way these worm tunnels improve drainage is by ensuring the soil isn’t compacted. If your soil is too compacted, this can cause poor drainage (among countless other issues). Uncompacted soil that has plenty of draining room is super important in your garden.
Because the worms tunnel so deeply due to their love of having lots of room to themselves, the benefits to your soil in terms of drainage and aeration also runs deeply. This will benefit your garden over a longer period, too, rather than just being a quick fix.
pH Level Neutralization
Lastly, these wonderful wormy critters are also our very own scientists. The wonders they do for the pH levels of our soil is second to none.
Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration but they are incredibly helpful in neutralizes those all-important pH levels. They do this through their castings. Yep, that worm poop comes through once again!
Worm castings are thought to have a natural pH of around 7.0 which is the ideal level for most soils. This means the worm poop can help to neutralize any acidity in the soil.
What this means for your plants is fertility, fertility, and more fertility! The pH levels become ideal, making the soil a breeding ground for eve3n more nutrients such as nitrogen, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as much more.
This provides the cyclical nature of nutrient production, wherein a worm consumes the nutrients in the soil, neutralizes the pH level of them in the stomach, excretes them in worm castings to provide more nutrients, and then begins the cycle again.
Overall, this pH level neutralization vastly improves the fertility of the soil and the nutrient production of it. These little worms really are wondrous, aren’t they?
So, as you can see, worms are indeed good for gardens. In fact, we would go further than this to say that they could be one of the most beneficial introductions you can make to your garden.
The numerous benefits these worms provide can improve the fertility of your soil, help out the drainage of the soil, increase nutrients within the soil, encourage the growth of plants and fruits, and even help to deter pests and plant diseases.
It would be worth remembering here that this article has solely explored the impact of worms on gardens. There is different advice concerning worms and their impact on forests, as they may not have such a positive effect in that scenario.
However, it is clear that those wriggly little wonders certainly are good for gardens!