How to Garden with Earthworms


Chances are good that you already have some earthworms in your garden. However, to do the most good, you want to attract lots of worms. Luckily, this is not terribly difficult, and is more about what you do not do than anything. The most important thing to remember is that worms like organic matter and moist soil. They dislike harsh pesticides, herbicides and chemicals. Keeping these two principles in mind will help you to garden with earthworms successfully.

Step 1

Turn over your garden's soil. To do this, dig up the first 6 to 8 inches with your mattock, hoe, spade or other digging implement.

Step 2

Amend the soil with compost. All soil types can benefit from the addition of more organic material. Earthworms enjoy it as well, and will find their way to it naturally.

Step 3

Start a worm pile near your garden. Begin by layering some kitchen scraps with grass clippings, leaves and soil in an area near the garden. Continually add more organic matter, always ending it with a thin layer of soil. According to Mother Earth News, worms need soil to aid in digestion. Adding soil to the top of your worm pile will attract the worms to the new organic matter. They will then digest it and break it down for garden use.

Step 4

Harvest the dirt from the worm pile once or twice a season. Do this by gathering dirt from the bottom center of the pile. This is the place where the worm castings (worm waste material) are likely to be the most decomposed. Do not harvest the worm castings very frequently. Worms require dark, moist environments and do not like direct sunlight or air.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using harsh pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals in your garden. In addition to killing whatever insects or weeds you wish to eliminate, they are bad news for worms. To keep your existing worms and attract new ones, refrain from using chemicals. Avoid building your worm pile into a compost pile. A compost pile achieves temperatures that are much hotter than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the preferred temperature of earthworms. To avoid turning your worm pile into an accidental compost pile, make it wider instead of taller. This will avoid creating a very hot center.

Things You'll Need

  • Mattock, hoe, spade or other gardening implement
  • Compost pile
  • Grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter


  • Mother Earth News: The Earthworm Lawn and Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: The Earthworm is Turning (The Soil)
Keywords: earthworm gardening tips, vermiculture advice, gardening with worms

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.