In the world of gardening, there are a variety of environmental factors you need to be aware of; many of them are to your advantage, while others can make your harvests more difficult.  Insects and other invertebrates can be extremely detrimental to your plants, but the earthworm is an important part of every successful garden.

Earthworms play a major role in successful gardening. Here are a few of the main advantages earthworm rich soil has for your home garden, as well as a few tips on how to keep these invertebrate gardeners around.

Soil Structure

One of the biggest benefits provided by the earth worm is that it alters the actual structure of the soil it occupies.  As earthworms burrow, they create stable paths that can hold up when you water and actually help your plants to get hydrated.

These pathways also create a better means of drainage so the root systems in your garden aren’t over watered in a heavy rainstorm, or when you forget to shut off your hose.  This simple, and effortless (for you), method of draining can keep your plants in good shape all season long.

Nutrients

But beyond the structure of the soil, earthworms also help to introduce many essential nutrients into your soil.  As these worms feed on various debris, leaves, grass, and soil, they introduce nutrient dense materials back into the ground.Maintaining your Lawn and Garden

This means that the refuse your earthworms produce is actually more concentrated in nutrients than the soil is on its own.  As your plants’ roots are exposed to nutrient rich soil, the entire plant is able to grow more effectively.  Effective root systems lead to good hydration and ultimately better fruit production.

The combination of improved soil structure and increased nutrition leads to productive plants and more successful gardens.

Inviting Earthworms in

Although earthworms are naturally drawn to certain conditions, there are some things you can do to encourage worms to cultivate your soil.  Here are a few of the best methods to invite earthworms into your garden and encourage them to stay:

  1. Make Your Soil Enticing.  Earthworms have some pretty developed tastes.  They thrive on leaf litter, mulch, and even kitchen scraps.  So, if you want your worms to hang around, it is important to give them what they need.  It may be tempting to clean up the fallen leaves in your garden, but give it some time, and the worms will do it for you.
  2. Go Organic.  The organic boom has merit, keeping your soil organic will actually encourage earthworms to hang around.  These worms prefer nitrogen rich soil, but synthetic nitrogen found in non-organic soils can frighten your worms away.
  3. Avoid Digging.  When you plant your garden at the beginning of the season, digging is important.  But from then on, you should try to avoid digging whenever possible to keep your earthworms safe and motivated.

Your garden should flourish this season, and earthworms are here to help! Follow these quick tips to keep your worms satisfied and your garden blooming.

Photo Credit: Hans