Worms in Garden Beds – What are the benefits?
Spring is officially here in Northern and Central California! For many, that means gardening season is upon us. You may not like the look of worms — perhaps, your reaction to them is similar to that of Raj’s, Leonard’s, and Howard’s (from “The Big Bang Theory”) — but when it comes to maintaining a healthy garden, you will definitely appreciate their existence.
Worms are great garden helpers and keeping them around will actually help your garden grow optimally. How?
First of all, worms move soil about and they eat up a variety of organic matter that allows them to produce castings, or vermicompost, that are packed with nutrients that will boost the growth of plants.
Secondly, worm movement in your garden beds creates tunnels that effectively aerate the soil, allowing plant roots to spread deeply and widely. Widely spread roots can make plants stronger and less prone to dehydration, especially during the hot and dry summer months.
And lastly, worms in garden beds create crumbly soil that absorbs water four times faster than soil that’s too compact or compressed. This means roots get better hydration because there is less water loss due to evaporation.
If you don’t find worms in your garden, this only means that your garden is not as healthy as it should be and plants will have a hard time growing because of it. Therefore, if you wish to give your garden a boost and entice these helpful creatures to make your garden their home, you need to create an environment that’s “attractive” for them. The following strategies will have worms coming and giving you the gardening help you need:
- Keep your soil moist. Turn it over frequently and water it.
- Add a lot of organic matter to your soil such as egg shells, grass clippings, and mulched leaves. Worms love to feed on these.
- Use coffee compost.
The said strategies can really improve garden health, but they do take some time to deliver the results you’re looking for. Worms are not just going to magically appear straight after implementing these strategies, so be patient.
But if you can’t wait any longer and you really want worms to work their magic for your garden now, you can actually purchase some from your local gardening store. Red wrigglers are available in most big box stores with a garden department and you can add them to your organic matter-infused soil. In no time, the worms will multiply and you’ll have a healthy number of them doing their bit to assist the growth of all the plants in your garden bed.