Effortless Earthworm Attraction

A healthy population of earthworms in your own yard may be just some scraps of cardboard away.

Earthworms

Earthworms eat their weight in organic garbage, aerate the soil around plants and fertilize better than any store-bought product.

FOTOLIA/KOKHANCHIKOV

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I live on a coastal plain that has sandy, acidic soil. My good friend relayed a concern she had about the lack of earthworms around her garden. After a few weeks of digging, planting and weeding, I realized she was right. I couldn’t remember the last time I had found an earthworm in a shovel of soil.

I drive a diesel Mercedes, which I’ve converted to run on waste vegetable oil. For cleanliness, I line my trunk with scrap cardboard to soak up any dribbles of veggie oil. After a few weeks the cardboard gets pretty oily, so I usually toss the scraps on the burn pile. One day I was in a hurry and just tossed the greasy cardboard on the dirt next to my shed.

Laziness got the best of me, and I ended up just letting the scraps sit there. It rained, of course, and as the weeks passed the cardboard became soggy and lumpy. I eventually got tired of looking at it and peeled it up off the ground to cast it into the burn pile. But when I pulled it up, I was stunned to see that my pale, sandy, wormless soil had been transformed into dark, lumpy clods, densely populated with the fattest earthworms I’d ever seen!

I encourage any reader who is trying to get a healthy population of earthworms to soak some cardboard in veggie oil and then lay the cardboard out on a patch of dirt for a month or so to see what happens.

Guy Valente
Magnolia, North Carolina