The slimy boneless worms I used to play with as a kid are a secret to a healthy garden. As a kid, these were live toys.
If your garden has no earthworms, then you’ll miss the benefits they’ll bring. This article will help you figure out why there are no worms in the soil and what you can do.
Why Are There No Worms In The Soil?
If there are no worms in your garden, it means that your soil does not have favorable conditions for the worms. The poor state of your soil could be due to toxic substances, or lack of moisture. Additionally, lack of organic matter or sandy soil could be why there are no earthworms in your territory.
How Earthworms Help Your Soil
A lot of research has helped me learn why worms are so essential for any garden. One major thing to note is that they are not critical for all types of soil systems.
What they indicate is that your soil system is healthy. Here are a few things these little creatures do for your soil.
Encourage Microbial Activity
Yes, earthworms rely on microorganisms to thrive. However, they also increase microorganisms in the soil through their casts and feces.
Once they ingest organic matter, it passes through the fragmentation and inoculation process with microorganisms.
Mix the Soil
Earthworms can move the soil found on the surface to the deepest levels of the ground. This means that organic matter gets to reach every surface of the soil which enriches the soil.
Earthworms increase infiltration when moving. Some earthworm species form burrows in soil that improve porosity and drainage and decrease surface water erosion.
Increase Water Holding Capacity
Earthworms improve the soil’s water holding capacity through organic matter fragmentation and soil porosity enhancement. Even burrows help the easy movement of water into the soil.
Shred and Bury Plant Residues
Earthworms carry the crop and plant residues into the deep surfaces of the soil.
Help Root Development
Roots can easily penetrate the soil through the deep burrows that earthworms form.
Where to Find Earthworms
Before I knew anything about worms, I thought that there is only one type of worm. To my dismay, there are many species of earthworms.
You can find earthworms in various parts of the soil. They are categorized according to their feeding strategies such as
Endogenic Species (Upper Soil)
As the name suggests, you will find these earthworms on the upper soil surface. They eat geophages and soil.
Additionally, they form non-permanent burrows which they leave with casts.
Epigeic species (Litter and Surface Soil)
If you have a soil surface with plant litter you will find this species of earthworms.
They are shorter compared to their counterparts, as well as easily adapt to the surface’s condition.
Anecic Species (Deep Burrowing)
You will find these species deep in the soil(even meters below).
They create permanent burrows and feed on litter.
What Are The Proper Conditions For Earthworms
Once I read about all the benefits of adding worms to my soil, I decided to buy some worms. I thought this would solve my worm problems but I was wrong.
The soil conditions can affect the earthworm population. Even if you buy and add earthworms to your garden, you might end up still having no worms after a while.
The soil environment needs to be favorable for the worms to thrive.
Worms like loamy soil. If your soil is rough or sandy, it eliminates moisture very quickly.
A worm’s body is 80% water. They need water to survive and if the soil is dry, water is drawn from their bodies through the skin.
An optimum temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is best for these cold-blooded animals.
Adult worms mostly die during summertime due to high temperatures.
The best soil environment for earthworms is one with a pH of 5 to 8.
How to Bring Worms to Your Garden
One easy way to introduce worms to your garden is by purchasing them from any garden store. However, this isn’t a hundred percent solution as I said before.
Natural ways of introducing worms are the best choice because it offers a long-term solution.
Building a worm habitat will attract these wrigglers to your garden. Encourage them to stay in your territory by enhancing your garden.
Once they come to your territory, you will have some great results such as enhanced soil structure and plant growth. Enrich the soil by adding organic matter it and provide the best pH environment.
You can do this by
- Adding growing material or mulch and ensure you till the soil efficiently.
- Watering your soil and regularly poking it with a compost fork.
Here are other ways to encourage earthworms to your garden:
- Maintain a ph of 4.5 and above in your soil. Earthworms like a ph of 5 to 8. Calcium is deficient in the soil and, if you add it, it will provide the best environment for earthworms.
- Decrease the use of fungicides and fertilizers. Some fungicides and ammonium sulfate fertilizers can lead to highly acidic soils. It is critical to ensure that you are using a small amount of pesticides on your crops.
- Drain water. It is critical to ensure that aerate your soil by eliminating water logs in your soil.
- Decrease Soil compaction. Ensure that vehicles and animals do not move on your land while wet to avoid compacting the soil.
Frequently Asked Questions about Why There are No Worms in The Soil
Which Type Of Soil Do Earthworms Love?
Earthworms thrive in moisture. 80% of their bodies are made up of water and use their skin for breathing. If the soil is too dry, it draws out moisture from their body. They love loamy soil because it is moist. Sandy soil is rough and eliminates water very fast.
When’s The Best Time To Add Worms To My Garden?
Placing worms on your garden is not a long-term solution. Encouraging the worms is what you should do. Add organic matter to your garden and watch the magic happen. You can do this at any time as long as the temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which Worms Are Best For Soil Aeration?
When composting, Red Wigglers are best. However, super red European nightcrawlers are best for outside composting. They can adapt better to extreme temperatures compared to the Red Wigglers.
Every gardener wants to see healthy plants in their gardens. Earthworms are every gardener’s best friend.
Even if you don’t spot them on your garden, you can introduce them. Through organic matter and other methods mentioned in the article, you can encourage earthworms in your garden.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.