How to Attract Earthworms

Adults earthworms. image by Kittenpuff1/Morguefile

Overview

Gardeners love any help they can get and it often comes in the form of a little earthworm. Earthworms break up the organic matter in the garden, using it as a food source. The garden helpers tunnel through the soil, breaking up dirt chunks and aerating the garden. Earthworm waste products increase the nutrient level of the soil. A garden without earthworms lacks one of the essential components to aid the gardener. Choosing to attract earthworms to your garden will only benefit the soil and your plantings.

Step 1

Evaluate the soil conditions and existing population of earthworms in your garden. You should be seeing some of the critters when weeding and planting. Attracting more earthworms to your garden will only benefit the soil and planting. If you see very few earthworms or none at all, you might need to add some purchased night crawlers or worm eggs to your flowerbed.

Step 2

Stop using fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides that aren't organic. These items contain salts and other chemical that can kill a worm quickly. Worms require a consistent food source, moist soil and moderate temperatures to thrive. Adding anything to this mix will upset the balance and cause the worms to move elsewhere.

Step 3

Create great compost from chopped leaves, grass clippings and food waste.

Step 4

Place a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost in your garden every year before applying mulch. This layer of organic matter invites the worms to come dine on this constant food source. Make sure that compost or organic remains 3 to 5 inches from the immediate base of plants and shrubs. You'll need to feed the worms yearly to keep them interested in staying in your garden.

Step 5

Provide a great starting point for encouraging earthworms when compost isn't available. Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of grass clippings to the garden surface. Wet the leaves and worms will magically appear within a few weeks. Worms love moist environments and will die without a properly hydrated home.

Step 6

Practice organic gardening techniques that take an all-natural approach to pest control. Don't place anything in the garden that contains acids, chemicals or salts that can harm the bacteria in the garden. Give the earthworms time to work their magic creating organic matter and tilling the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Leaf clippings
  • Rake
  • Shovel

References

  • Texas A&M University Extension
  • Global Garden
Keywords: attracting earthworms, earthworms, earthworms and gardens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: Kittenpuff1/Morguefile