Notice the lowly earthworm, squirming away, going about its
everyday business. Simple creatures you may think but they have
quite a important use in the garden. Did you know the earthworms
are nature's first gardeners? They don't exist just for kids to
eat and fishermen to use as bait :)
Some Basic Earthworm Facts
Earthworms are present in
almost every type of soil but the healthier the soil the greater
the numbers. A healthy soil permits lots of air and moisture,
both of which are needed by the earthworm for a continued
existence. Earthworms have no lungs like you or me but instead
breathe through their skin. Their whole skin absorbs oxygen and
releases carbon dioxide. They also need moisture to assist them
in respiration but too much moisture is not good for them.
There are four types of earthworm that you may run into:
Nightcrawlers: 8 to 10 inches long and the fisherman's
Garden Worms: 5 to 7 inches long and found
commonly in damp soils.
Manure Worms: 4 to 5 inches long and
found in manure rich soils.
Red Worms: 3 to 4 inches long and
the most commercially available.
Why Earthworms in the
A garden without earthworms would miss out on all
of the great benefits that they bring to it. Their first job is
to till the soil by tunneling through it. Tunnels created allow
air and moisture to pass easily through the soil, creating a
healthy environment for plants. Tunnels retain water that the
plants can take up and also hold air to help bacteria break down
organic matter within the soil.
earthworms produce excrement about the size of a pin head. This
excrement is called "castings" or "vermicompost" and is an
excellent soil conditioning material. It improves properties of
the soil such as porosity and moisture retention, aids plant
growth and helps in the fight against pests and diseases.
Increasing Earthworm Population in the Garden
one go about increasing the number of earthworms in their garden
soil? Well the best way to do so is to add more organic matter
to the soil. Earthworms cannot get enough of the stuff
and will seek it out wherever they can find it.
The earthworm is just as important to the
garden as the gardener that maintains it because they till the
soil and add a soil conditioner in the form of castings. They
are as much a gardener as you are. The next time you see one
wiggling on the ground in front of you bend down and say "got
any good gardening tips?" You never know it may answer :)
I will leave the final word to a one Charles Darwin who once had
this to say about the earthworm:
"The plow is one of the most ancient and most valuable of
man's inventions; but long before he existed, the land was in
fact regularly plowed and still continues to be thus plowed by
earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other
animals which have played so important a part in the history of
the world, as have these lowly organized creatures."
About the Author:
Francis Kilkelly runs one of the fastest growing home and garden
has gardening forums and gardening blogs (
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This website was very useful my younger sister wanted to know
about worms because they are doing a gardening project at
school. We found this website the most helpful, my sister will
definitely get a sticker for all the facts she knows!!!
How many cm are worms under the soil?
|hi - I've just been
sorting out the garden, and as usual there are a load of
earthworms under the logs, etc. have had no problem all day
with them until half an hour ago when I picked one up and got a
sting to my finger.....now its quite stingy - like a nettle
sting. This has never happened to me before - have I been stung
by an earth worm, or do you think it might be something in the
|I have some very large worms in my garden
& wonder if they are the type mentioned in articles recently.
The worms are more than 8 inches long, more than 1 cm wide &
are white on the underside. If anyone knows if these are the
'foreign' worms that eat up the little worms in the garden, I'd
be very grateful for a reply via my email, clare @
covermail.co.uk, & also any hints as how to dispose of them. Urghhhh...
Many thanks. Clare