What Worms Tell You About Your Soil

When you see worms in soil you can be sure that the quality of the soil is excellent. It will be rich in organic matter and valuable nutrients. It will be well aired with good drainage.

Where there is an abundance of worms in the soil plants will be healthy and sturdy, flowers will be more colorful and plentiful and fruit and vegetables will taste better and be more nutritious.

The question that is sometimes asked is this – is this good soil the result of the worm population or are the worms there because the soil is good quality?

There is no clear answer to this because the two are so inter-dependent; they are like the chicken and the egg dilemma. One is not possible without the other.

In soil where worms are absent you may have assumed that the soil is poorly drained and lacking in organic matter. You may also assumed that the nutrient content was poor.

These assumptions are probably right but the other possibility of course is that the soil is of good quality but the worms have been removed or destroyed by the New Zealand Flat Worm. This worm thrives in the climate of the British Isles and has done untold damage to the native earthworm population here.

The Flat Worm has not posed the same threat in its native country because it can not tolerate a hot climate and exists there only in shook and damp areas around trees and bushhes. Unfortunately no such restrictions apply here and the flat worm has been free to move and breed at reasonable speed.

Talking to local farmers they have told me how the sea gulls used to follow the plow for the rich picking of earthworms. But the sea gulls do not do this any more because the worms are not in the ground.

Whatever the reason for a lack of worms in your soil adding worms will bring benefits. The benefits will be increased where organic matter such as compost or manure is added. The worms can be placed in the soil about three quarters of a spade in depth with some worm bedding. For more details on adding worms to your soil you can read the article "Worms – Fertilize your soil the natural way with burrowing earthworms!" on our site.

Another excellent feed is worm cast – it is excellent for breaking up heavy clay soil and aerating the ground. You will notice when you added worm cast to your ground that after a while it sinks down a couple of inches as it makes it way down into the earth.

Worm cast is also excellent mulch. It will help keep weeds down and it gives the flower beds a fresh well groomed appearance.