How to Add Worms to a Vegetable Garden

Overview

Worms are essential to a vegetable garden, and a great way to support an organic garden with kitchen compost. They help to improve soil structure by decomposing organic matter for your vegetables. Worm castings improve nutrient levels in your soil, as well. You can add worms to improve the health of your garden, and help stop pests and disease from harming your harvest. Worms also decrease the need for fertilizer by adding nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to the soil.

Step 1

Dig about ½ foot deep in the area where you want your vegetable garden to be next spring. Fall is a good time to do this so that your garden is ready for vegetables next spring. However, you can do this anytime, as long as the soil temperature is above 65 degrees F.

Step 2

Loosen the dirt and remove any weeds to a depth of six inches. Mix partially composted kitchen scraps such as vegetables, breads and cooked grains to the soil. Add about a 3-inch layer of the compost to the soil.

Step 3

Lay 25 worms on each cubic foot of your garden soil so that they can dig into the soil. Make sure the soil temperature is at least 65 degrees F when you add the worms.

Step 4

Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch over your garden bed. You can use hay or raked leaves as mulch. Mulch will help to keep the soil warm for your worms.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist with water, but not soggy for your worms until it begins to get cold in late fall.

Step 6

Begin your vegetable garden the following spring. Care for your worms by avoiding pesticides or fertilizers high in nitrogen. Mix compost into your soil to feed your worms once a month after your seedlings have become established in your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Kitchen compost
  • 25 worms per cubic foot of garden space
  • Mulch
  • Compost

References

  • Texas Master Gardener: Beneficials in the Garden
  • University of California: Master Gardener
  • Heritage Wheat Conservancy: Vermicomposting

Who Can Help

  • Compost Santa Cruz County: Attracting Worms
  • Tennessee Crawlers: About Lawn and Garden Worms
  • Veggie Gardener: The Unseen Workers of Garden Soil
Keywords: composting, kitchen compost, organic gardening

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for over 15 years. Coe is the former publisher of the politics and art magazine Flesh from Ashes. She has worked to protect water and air quality. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University.