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Earth worms, as they cultivate and feed, swallow great quantities of soil, digest it, extract its food value and expel the residue as worm castings. These worm castings are 5 times richer in the nutrients necessary for maximum plant growth and production than the soil they ingested.

Just as important, these worms, commonly known as “red wigglers” and technically known as Eisenia fetida, are one of the most effective agents for loosening and aerating the soil. Their tunnels are lined with earth worm castings and allow oxygen to reach plant roots. Also, as the earthworms burrow, they create channels which increase the capacity for the soil to hold water. In soil where earth worms have been introduced, there are more nutrients and oxygen available for roots, softer soil for improved root growth, and better water retention.

It is always helpful for the worms to add compost to the soil since they are constantly looking for organic material to eat and convert to castings. Almost any kind of plant waste or food waste can be either put directly into the soil or broken down first in a compost pile or container and then added to the soil. This will significantly increase worm reproduction and speed up soil improvement.

RELEASE: Dig several holes throughout your garden. Make them approximately ½ foot in diameter and one foot deep. Soak the holes with water and let drain. Put a little compost, food scraps, or garden waste in the holes and then add a handful of worms. Loosely fill the holes with dirt or compost. Keep the area watered.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Try to put some of the holes in the drip line around trees or shrubs. Covering the area with mulch is a good idea.

Now that you’ve learned more about earthworms, it’s time to add these wonderful insects to your garden. Like all beneficial insects, you can be sure that they’ll dine only on your garden’s pests and won’t harm the good bugs or your plants. Use our dealer locator to find a store near you!

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