Love Your Earthworms

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Val White, May 12, 2015.

  1. Val White

    Val White Active Member
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    You may jump when you touch one but Earthworms are great for soil. They speed up decomposition by consuming lots of dead plant material, and their burrows help aerate the soil and let water through easily. Worm casts (faeces) are rich in recycled plant nutrients that help to maintain soil fertility.


     
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  2. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    It never did the earthworm any good to be early!;)
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Interestingly, night crawlers - Lumbricus terestris - one of the most common and productive earthworms in North America, is an invasive species. When the forests of North America were cleared and put into cultivation, this European worm quickly displaced the native species of earthworms, which couldn't withstand the changes in the soil that came with cultivation; although the native species still exist in some areas that have never been under cultivation.
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  4. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    All I know about worms is that they make pretty good bait when fishing!
     
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  5. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    I grew up in the woods, under a log. My best friends were frogs and earthworms and the occasional copperhead! Honestly I do love them, and I've always been really careful not to harm them in any way. I actually think they're cute. My son, on the other hand, would agree with Richard.
     
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  6. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    LOL, Brittany, if you have copperheads for friends, then I am certainly going to agree with every post you make!
     
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  7. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    LOL Wise man! Actually it sounded like my main theme there was the copperhead. I did grow up around them, but the earthworms were my real friends. LOL I just had a healthy respect for the copperheads. I'm becoming incoherent now. G'night all.
     
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  8. Val White

    Val White Active Member
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    We have only one venomous snake so little to fear when country walking. The one that throw a lot of townies is the Slow worm. It isn't really a worm but looks like a very big worm but is really a legless lizard which looks a bit like a snake and never fails to scare the heebie jeebies out of those that don't know the difference . With me so far! :D
     
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  9. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    We have geckos all around (except when I want to take a picture) and they are usually pretty small, up to five inches. But my first time in the jungle, I met one about a foot long and probably 2-3 inches wide. As I was running for my life, all the kids by my farm house started to laugh at the big brave foreigner!
     
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  10. Val White

    Val White Active Member
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    We called geckos that lived in our house chit chats because of their distinctive call. . When you first encounter them it comes as something of a shock when they shed their tale to escape you.
     
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  11. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I like worms in the garden and for fishing. I also like rat snakes and king snakes. Venomous snakes are only good for target practice.
     
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  12. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Our backyad has lots of earthworms and I sometimes think that my husband is raising them. I know that it is very good for fertilizer. What the gardener in our house normally does is to dig for worms and mix it with the other fertilizer items like leftover dishes and vegetables. They will be put in a shallow pit to be covered by wood. But the pit is sprayed with insecticides otherwise the substance will be eaten by ants and other insects. After a week, the cover is taken off and let the compost dry in the sun. It is good fertilizer after 2 weeks of drying. Now, during the rainy season is another story.

    For the health of the worms, we have a small garden (5 feet by 2 feet in area) where we put the leftover vegetable trimmings like the hard part of cabbage or the leaves of broccoli. That small garden is inhabited by earthworms and I believe they eat the vegetable leftovers there.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I have two, soon to be three, large compost piles in my backyard. Since composting slows considerably in Maine during the winter and, for much of the year, I am unable to turn the compost, hot composting is sporadic at best, so it takes a while for a pile of compost to be ready for use. Plus, I compost stuff like cat litter as well, so it's generally a three-year process.

    Perhaps because we had such a long winter, my pile didn't flatten as much this spring as it usually does. Given the layers of snow and ice that will melt once temperatures rise in the spring, a large pile of compostable material usually sinks in considerably after a couple of weeks of warm weather, but that didn't happen nearly as much this year and my compost pile is quite large, while neither of my other pile isn't yet ready for use.

    So, for the first time, I have purchased worms to add to the natural supply that my compost attracts, and am hoping to see some results from it.
     
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    We have lots of them here. If you want to go fishin', you can go out to the garden, turn over a shovel of dirt and gather them. :)
     
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  15. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    I don't think we have enough worms in the area. We have had some really hard rains lately and very few worms came out. I think the soil would be in better condition if we had more worms. I do see Gekko's running around often. The first I saw a real one it really did scare me. We also have snakes which I am happy to say I do not see often.
     
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  16. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  17. Molly Fenster

    Molly Fenster New Member
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    I have never thought it that way; Earthworms are truly essential for the nature to work. I really need to put more thought into these things considering nature :).
     
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  18. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Ants are beneficial, too, if you're not having a picnic. ;)
     
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  19. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I believe that everything has a purpose, although not necessarily our own purpose. I have added about a thousand worms to my compost. It was supposed to be a thousand anyhow, although I doubt that anyone counted them. I know that I wasn't about to.

    My compost pile is about waste high, and fairly wide. What I did was dig a hole in the center, then used a new shipping box and, without taping the bottom flaps shut, I extended the open-bottom box into the hole, added some table scraps to it, then I added a combination of shredded paper and peat moss, mixed with some coffee grounds, to the box, preparing it about three days before the worms arrived. During that time it rained, so the compost pile was dampened.

    First I had ordered just five hundred worms then, seeing that they all arrived healthy, I ordered five hundred more. When the first load of worms arrived, I added them to the box, and put some more peat moss and shredded paper on top. I picked up the second load a couple of days later, and added them as well. If they are going to do well in my compost pile, they will spread out and downward from the center. If the don't thrive, I probably won't know about it for a couple years when I can use the compost. I expect they'll do okay though, since I always find worms in my compost even without having added any.
     
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  20. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Last week my husband met a man in our village. He is looking for worms in large quantities that he would sell to garden landscapers. He said that worms, when ground and mixed with compost, is a very potent fertilizer. He added that worms can also be eaten by people, yuck, hahahaaa. My husband is now thinking of making a little business out of that. However, our place is small and there is not much space for a worm planet. Perhaps if we could buy another lot for that purpose.
     
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  21. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That doesn't make sense to me, since earthworms are far more valuable for compost when they are left alive. Their castings make excellent compost and, like everything else, they don't live forever, so you'll have some dead worms there too. Plus, they help to break down the compost.
     
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  22. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    My husband actually uses earthworms for fertilizer. I would see him catching a bunch and cutting them with the trowel before mixing with soil. That's his ritual when preparing pots or beds for planting. He said that the protein of the earthworm rejuvenates the plants. With the compost, that's another story. We have a planter box solely for that purpose. I don't think he was taking earthworms from there.
     
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  23. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I agree with Ken. I don't see the sense of killing the worms. When I catch fish I fillet them then grind the remains and put them in the garden. That adds protein and feeds the worms.
     
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