Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

Attract Night Crawlers to Your Garden

4/5/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: worms, soil

I will be starting my new organic garden in the clay dirt of South Carolina. Should I get earthworms to help the soil? Any recommendations? 

Several species of helpful earthworms will magically appear as you dig compost and other forms of organic matter into your soil. The most important species in terms of soil improvement is the night crawler (Lumbricus terrestris), which specializes in taking organic matter from the soil’s surface and storing it in underground middens, which are combination food supply/trash heaps. As these middens decompose, they become nutrient-rich hot spots in plants’ root zones. In addition, night crawler tunnels create open channels for water and plant roots, which can make a huge difference in tight clay soil. 

Using mulches will encourage night crawlers, as will creating grassy mowed pathways, which you might think of as night crawler reservoirs. But the best thing you can do to increase night crawler populations is to place piles of compost and mulch in or near your garden. More night crawler activity goes on around the edges of compost and mulch piles than anywhere else in your garden. 

Chances are good that providing habitat for night crawlers will attract them in noticeable numbers, but if you want to import worms to colonize your new garden area, you can use night crawlers that are sold as fishing bait. 

Barbara Pleasant, contributing editor 



Related Content

Red Light for a Healthy Night's Sleep

After years of impatient waiting, Ellen Sandbeck finally finds red LED night lights, which save ener...

Amazing View of Earth at Night (Video)

This mesmerizing video shows city lights, wildfires in Australia, and even gas flares in the Middle ...

I Saw Another UFO Last Night

Cam blames horror movies for his overactive imagination.

Worms Attack!

Who would have ever thought that worms could invade a forest and wreak havoc?

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Marty Rogers
9/30/2010 6:39:22 AM
I enjoyed your article very much and I am now buying 500 night crawlers from Bass Pro Shops. Thank you! Marty Rogers







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.