If you have a vegetable garden, then you are probably aware of how helpful worms are in making it flourish. They serve important roles in your vegetable garden – among which are breaking down organic matter and aerating the soil.
Adding worms into your garden can also help increase water in the soil. Their presence even signifies that the soil where you are cultivating your plants is healthy and ideal for growth. Making it a part of your vegetable garden is an important organic practice, which can support your goal of producing healthy crops.
Now the question is what types of worms are ideal for use in a vegetable garden? Here are some of your best choices:
1. Red Wigglers
Most of those who intend to use worms for their garden prefer the red wigglers when it comes to worm composting. The reason is that they are proven effective in terms of processing organic straps. The red wigglers are earthworm species capable of growing up to 1 and ½ to 2 and ½ inches.
One advantage of red wigglers is that they are truly productive breeders. As a matter of fact, you can expect them to produce a minimum of five cocoons weekly. The versatility of these worms is also unquestionable. They can survive in shallow environments, like plastic bins with worm beddings fitted in them, some soil, and the usual kinds of matter used in standard compost bins, like plant-based kitchen scraps and yard clippings.
Given the right care and maintenance, red wigglers also work in creating more dynamic and healthier soil creatures. They can help you produce an organic compost rich in essential nutrients and minerals, like potassium, phosphates, and nitrogen. They can enrich your plants and garden soil right after you apply their castings.
2. European Nightcrawlers
Another type of worm that works well for vegetable gardens is the European nightcrawler. Many gardeners treasure European nightcrawlers as they are truly effective when it comes to fertilizing and aerating gardens and lawns. They prefer this worm species, which is also referred to as the Super Reds when they plan to do outdoor composting. The reason is that the European nightcrawler can thrive in extreme temperatures better when compared to the red wigglers.
The European nightcrawler is also bigger than the red wigglers. You can expect this worm to grow up to four or five inches. They are extremely active, too. They can burrow through several feet of soil, allowing them to create tunnels that are effective in aerating your garden and lawn. Moreover, this type of worm offers the advantage of generating and distributing its own natural fertilizer.
You will also surely love the fact that they can resist extreme cold and heat. This means you do not have to worry about them having a difficult time surviving during extreme weather. Aside from that, they tend to breed fast, allowing you to receive the amount of organic fertilizer you need quickly.
3. African Nightcrawler
Another preferred species used for vermicomposting is the African Nightcrawler. It is a native worm species in West Africa. One reason why it is good for gardening is that they have the ability to tolerate extremely high temperatures. They also appreciate high levels of humidity.
The African Nightcrawler is also famous for being a large worm. As a matter of fact, you can expect this species to grow as long as ten inches within just eight weeks. You will most likely see it being used in vermicomposting in several warm regions.
4. Field Worm
You can also try using field worms for your organic fertilizer. Unlike nightcrawlers that often thrive in soils that are abundant in organic matter, the field worm has an edge in the sense that it can survive even if you put it in poor soil conditions. These worms are also smaller plus they come with a unique, raised part close to the beginning of their body.
Field worms work similarly to the nightcrawlers when used in gardening. One thing that they can do is bring organic matter present on the surface of the soil down to the burrows. The worms will then consume them and produce debris rich in nutrients along the process. With that, they can help in making the soil lighter by aerating it.
Encouraging Worm Activity
Despite being minuscule creatures, different types of worms can provide plenty of benefits for your garden. However, you have to encourage them to be active in order to enjoy such benefits. You can make them more active with the aid of these tips:
- Add organic matter regularly – Make sure to incorporate organic matter whether it is manure or compost at least once every two weeks. Ensure that this becomes your routine as this can help supply them with nourishment that will let them stay active and multiply.
- Put organic mulch in the bin – Note that you can further stimulate worm activity if the soil has enough moisture plus the temperature is not that extreme. You can provide such an environment for the worms by using mulch to cover the soil. It can help in retaining moisture and ensure that the soil stays cool even during hot days.
- Do not till – Keep in mind that tilling is not advisable as it tends to disturb not only the homes of earthworms but also their normal activities. If you till constantly, then it is highly likely that you can lower the worm’s survival rate. In case you need to add compost, consider sprinkling it only on the surface. Allow the worms to do the remaining work as they are capable of naturally tilling the soil on their own.
Regardless of the type of worm you use for your vegetable garden, remember that caring for them requires giving them enough moisture. Aside from that, you have to feed them well using the items found in your home. Keep their environment conducive for their survival and you will surely be able to have happy and healthy worms that you can use in cultivating a green and productive garden.