Can anybody school me on garden worms and adding them to my plot? I've read the vermiculter forum but didnt get much out of it. Thanks in advance.
When you add organic matter, you'll attract the worms. I am noticing an increase in earthworms (nightcrawler-type) in the ground compared to what I used to find. This type lives in-ground and builds permanent burrows.
The compost-type (likely red wiggler) worms generally live in the above-ground layers of mulch and/or organic matter. When I first built my raised beds, the horse manure I got came with a nice supply of these guys. That supply has grown quite well.
These guys were polishing off some pumpkin I buried in the garden last winter. (click if you care to enlarge) From Tales of a Transplanted Gardener
From what I understand, worms work on a "if you build it they will come" sort of theory- meaning feed them (by adding organic matter) and they'll find it. If that theory doesn't work (and frankly, I might have my doubts out here), perhaps I could dig some up for you :-) (if I'm remembering right, you live very nearby?)
There's my non-scientific summary as I understand it. I hope it's at least slightly helpful.
Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener
It really does work, GB! I had no idea what a good thing I was doing when I built my compost pile directly on the ground, and now I have such a wonderful supply of worms that if IÂm working in a spot that doesnÂt have many worms, I just transplant some from the compost pileÂalong with some compostÂto get them started in that spot!
These are the worms I was finding in my Compost Pile Potato Garden last year when I was digging up the potatoes one time. The potato garden is filled with half-finished compost, and there were a lot of worms anyway, but there were amazing concentrations of them wherever I found one of the tiny potatoes that had started to rot. HereÂs a pic of one of the tangles of wormsÂafter half of them had "disappeared" while I went to get the camera!
And I also discovered, quite by accident, that when I leave bags of leaves laying on top of the soil in my veggie garden in fall, the worms live and procreate under the bags all winterÂprotected from the cold by the leaf insulation! ItÂs impossible to get a good picture of them, because as soon as I lift a bag to take a picture, the red wigglers IMMEDIATELY disappear into the ground! But hereÂs a pic of the big ones (night crawlers?) that are left when the red wigglers have disappeared!
And since I discovered that I can "grow" worms under the bags all winter, I now intentionally spread the bags out to cover as much surface of the veggie garden over winter as I canÂespecially in the areas with the poorest soil. IÂve been doing this for two years now, and I can hardly believe how many worms I have now compared to when I started. HereÂs a pic with some of the remaining bags of leaves on March 18 of this year, and I left them spread out for as long as I could. Besides the warmth the bags provide, the worms apparently love to eat the remaining grass mulch that IÂve been using in the veggie garden all summer!
If you have somewhere where you can build a compost pile directly on the soilÂeven if itÂs a fairly small one, the worms will migrate up into it and happily procreate for you! IÂve never tried this, but I suspect that if you lift parts of the pile and put wet kitchen scraps directly on the surface of the soil (under the "other" composting stuff), youÂll get an even better migration into the pile. From what IÂve seen, just adding a little bit of organic matter/compost to the soil in general doesnÂt make much difference. ItÂs where they have a big, easy supply of food that theyÂll really proliferate, and then you can "transplant" them to where you want them.
Worms are GOOD!
P.S. GreenBean, my "summary" is pretty unscientific...
Skybird, I'm glad I'm not the only one who takes pictures of worms... When I posted the worm pics on my blog last year, it was about the time I sent a blog link to a friend of mine. She thought the worms were kind of gross. I thought they were a beautiful sight!
I have white juicy grubs in my compost pile but no worms. I want to buy and set free a bunch of worms in my garden but dont know what kind to buy. Is it the "red wigglers" I am looking for? And where can I buy them in Colorado Springs?
Twice annually, for six years, I bought dozens and dozens of nightcrawlers at Walmart and tossed them into my yard after aerating the lawn.
I was dismayed last year when I increased my veggie garden and found NO worms!!
The robins are loving life though eating those dozens and dozens of Walmart worms...
I started composting - with worms. DH built these great outdoor worm bins. I ordered Red Wigglers online and received some from a composter in Fort Collins.
I also ordered European Nightcrawler cocoons last year after reading that transplanted worms do not thrive like hatched worms. Could be true...Not sure.
I chose the European variety because I read that they compost only dead material (hopefully ignoring my tomato plants) and dig deeper then the Red Wrigglers (will compost live plants if necessary) and American/Canadan Nightcrawlers. I also read that these populations sometimes die when the ground freezes, because they don't dig deep enough to avoid it.
Covering the veggie garden with bags of leaves is an AWESOME idea!! Must help to keep the ground warm for the worms!!
So I buried the cocoons in my veggie garden and also buried food scraps. The cocoons must have done well because I have HUGE nightcrawlers throughout the garden and yard. The European Nightcrawler (larger variety) must indeed be thriving in my clay. I highly recommend them.
Happy Gardening -
I have a food-scrap compost bin sunk in the ground with holes in it, and that's where I get the worms now. After we built the raised bed, a couple times riding the the bike down to the reservoir I picked up some nightcrawlers at the bait shop and introduced them to their new home. I see their evidence but rarely see them during the day even when planting (I don't turn the soil, just fork).
I have ordered Red Wrigglers a few times online with great success. You can usually get about 1000 worms for around $30. Just Google "worms" ... or you can even order them through Amazon.com!