“Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible.”
Today we’re talking all about earthworms. Invertebrates, insects, birds and mammals bring many benefits to your garden, and if you’re into organic gardening practices, you already know how useful earthworms are.
The UK is home to 27 species of earthworm that fall into four groups.
Anecic earthworms – These are the most common, and largest, earthworms in the UK. They live in vertical burrows and feed on leaves that they bring into their burrows. These may annoy some of you because they leave middens (cast piles) on your lawns.
Endogeic earthworms – These come in a variety of pale colours – pink, grey, green or blue. They can burrow very deeply and create horizontal burrows.
Epigeic earthworms – These bright red, or reddy-brown, worms usually live on the surface. You’ll find them in leaf litter and compost piles across the land.
Compost earthworms – You can guess where these worms like to hang out. They love a warm, moist home and a good supply of fresh compost material. They are often stripey so have been nicknamed ‘tiger worms’.
Structure for your soil
Their complex tunnel network means your soil gets lots of oxygen and water, and excess carbon dioxide can get out. Lots of worms also reduces the risk of flash flooding because water can drain away. These burrows are also a convenient store of nutrients; the earthworms bond aerobic bacteria and digested leaf litter which is ideal for plant roots.
Worm casts may be a little unsightly on a neat lawn, but they give your soil great structure. And they provide more nitrogen, more phosphorus, and lots more useful bacteria.
Breaking it down
Leaves, roots, animal manure – earthworms take care of it all! This releases nutrients that your plants and lawn benefit from. Worm eats matter and make it smaller. Bacteria and fungi feed on the smaller matter, and the nutrients are released. And as earthworms move through the soil, they mix all this magical stuff into the soil. Good work, nature!
We love this
We discovered a radio programme about earthworms! Discover more than you ever thought you wanted to know about our little gardeners here.
Did you know? The world’s largest earthworm, the Giant Gippsland, lives in Australia. On average it will be 1 meter long, but the largest can get to 3 meters! The photos are worth a google.
We don’t provide earthworms but we do provide fantastic turf that earthworms can help you look after. If you’re a landscaper or gardener looking for quality trade supplies, our turf will right up your lawn.