Worm composting has become an increasingly popular means of gardening, and more and more people are interested in building their own worm farm to feed their garden. But can you introduce new worm species into your garden without a compost bin? Which ones are best?
It is essential to understand that not every type of worm is ideal for your compost or your garden.
As far as the earthworm goes, the red wiggler and the nightcrawler are the best compost worms on the market. They can handle the scraps that you give them and turn them into wonderful nutrients for your live vegetation.
But what worms should you keep away from your soils, and how do you attract the right ones?
In short, worms in the garden are fantastic for your garden.
Worms help the soil in your garden in a multitude of ways:
- Worms consume all of the organic decaying matter in the garden soil. Despite popular belief, worms do not feed off of your live plants. In fact, they only eat the decaying matter from plant roots, natural kitchen scraps, animal manure, etc.
- They then turn that decaying matter into worm castings (i.e. worm poop). The castings are full of nutrients that help with plant growth. It, therefore, turns the dead matter into new life, thus playing a major role in our ecosystem.
- They also improve the soil for garden plants by burrowing through it. As they burrow, they create tunnels that help to create the soil and disperse the moisture for the plants, thus improving the soil structure.
Which Worms Are Best for Gardens?
When it comes to finding the right worm species for your soil, there are very few options that are sought after or even available.
The most commonly requested garden worms are red wiggler worms (or just red worms).
Red wigglers have proven to be the most successful composting worms for dealing with organic matter. They are also great breeders and can provide new worm eggs every week.
However, night crawlers have also proven to be decent composting worms for garden soil.
Can Earthworms Hurt My Garden?
No, earthworms do not harm gardens. Since earthworms will only eat the decaying organic material in the soil (from leaf litter, organic kitchen waste, etc.), they will do no harm to your live plants.
In fact, they will give the plant nutrients and maintain the soil that your vegetation needs to grow well.
Earthworms have proven to be a staple in organic gardening, and without them, life of earth would genuinely cease to exist!
Think about it: the earthworms eat the decaying organic material that has nowhere else to go and turn it into nutrient-rich castings.
They, in turn, feed the soil and the plants within, which then feed all other living creatures.
There are, however, certain kinds of worms that are dangerous for your garden soil.
What Worms Are Bad for The Garden?
Among the worst worms for your soil there are nematodes. Nematodes, also known as roundworms, are known for being able to destroy entire crops and can definitely ruin your garden area.
Unlike earthworms, nematodes feed on live organic material such as plants (including their foliage, flowers, and roots).
The nematodes inject the base of the plants with their saliva, then suck out all of the nutrients. This can sometimes impede on the plant’s growth, or worst-case scenario, it can kill it.
Nematodes can also give viruses and diseases to the plants upon which they feed.
How Can I Encourage More Worms in My Garden?
In order to encourage good earthworms into your soil, such as night crawlers and red wiggler worms, you will need to make your soil a healthy environment for the red wigglers.
You can start by making sure that you eat organic food.
The waste that you get from the food (i.e. banana peels, coffee grounds, coconut coir, melon rinds, etc.), can all be used in a compost bin in your garden to make a richer soil and invite the red worms looking for food.
In order for the red worms to come, you will also need to make sure that the soil is damp at all times.
If the moisture level is not right, the red wigglers will suffocate and will therefore leave your garden soil.
Can You Have Too Many Worms in Your Garden?
Generally speaking, you cannot have too many red worms in your garden.
They will only feed on the decaying organic material and will not turn towards your live plants or each other for food.
Should their food source not meet their requirements, then they will simply leave the area.
However, with high worm activity, your garden is more likely to attract other animals such as birds, moles, etc.
However, these types of animals can significantly damage your garden, so do ensure that you take the necessary precautions to keep the plants and the compost worms in the ground safe.
How Do I Get Rid of Worms in My Garden?
If the worm population in your garden has begun to impede on your gardening, then it may be time to get rid of some of the worms.
You can always start by doing a manual removal; however, this will take a lot of time, energy and will not be as efficient as other methods.
You can also try using floating row covers which naturally deter the compost worms or even raised beds.
Perhaps remove your compost pile. Heaps of compost are like open buffets to the earthworm and will continue to attract them.
Instead, deal with your kitchen scraps accordingly, and take the leaves to a dedicated location.
To conclude, search no further than worms if you are trying to grow the best garden flowers in the neighbourhood, cultivate a healthier lawn, or simply manage the leaves in your garden in an organic and helpful way.
Compost worms are the best way of dealing with decaying organic material and will leave you with the best-looking garden or field that you can imagine.
Thankfully, you can buy them (online or even from bait shops) or simply make a few changes to ensure that they want to come to your garden.
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