Earthworms are one of nature’s most diligent decomposers. They feast on dead and decomposing organic matter, deriving their nutrition from the bacteria and fungi on these decomposing materials, and turning it into castings, which dramatically alters soil structure, water movement/retention, nutrient dynamics and plant growth.
Earthworms perform many functions:
Stimulate microbial activity: While earthworms actually obtain their nutrition from microorganisms versus the decaying matter itself, even more microorganisms are present in their manure – known as casts or castings – than in the organic matter that is composted or decomposed without the presence of earthworms. This increased microbial activity facilitates the cycling of nutrients from organic matter and converts it into forms that are more easily taken up by plants.
Mix soil: As they eat organic matter, earthworms move large amounts of soil from the lower strata to the surface and also bury and shred rotting organic matter on the soil surface down into deeper soil layers.
Increase water retention and infiltration: Earthworms enhance porosity as they move through the soil and by fragmenting organic matter, they increase water-holding capacity of soils.
Create tunnels for root growth: The tunnels made by deep-burrowing earthworms are lined with readily available nutrients and make it easier for roots to penetrate deep into the soil.
In controlled settings like a backyard worm bin, earthworms can also efficiently convert kitchen scraps and garden waste into vermicompost to nourish your garden.
We sell Red Wigglers, a particularly efficient type of earthworm, with their original bedding in a 5 gallon reusable fabric pot. This means our worm bags include non-stressed adult worms, juvenile worms and also worm eggs. Keeping the colony together increases the chances of success in their new home.
For further information on the horticultural benefits of worm castings, refer to the writings and research of Elaine Ingham.
From our large vermicompost operation at Local Cooling Farms, we also sell screened worm castings as a soil amendment. With a medium-to-moderate NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) range, high beneficial microbial/fungal counts, and other plant-friendly qualities such as fungal root rot prevention and nutrient absorption, worm castings are the highest quality compost or soil amendment product available.
Interested in learning more?
Give us a shout and we’d be happy to help.