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No worms

Discussion in 'Gardening On Your Homestead' started by Chic Rustler, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Oct 3, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Almost Self-Reliant

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    I been at this for a few months now, almost a year. With all the stuff I tilled in the soil before I started, all the manure and mulch I added while growing and all the wood chips, leaves and grass clippings I added on top a few months ago I would expect to see some worms. There are none. No worms in the garden. I don't even find worms in my old compost pile, just a bunch of bugs.

    Is it possible worms just don't hang out in Sandy areas? Because it seems there are none to be had.

    Can I just buy a few thousand red wigglers and put in the garden? Would they survive?
     
  2. Oct 3, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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  3. Oct 3, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Almost Self-Reliant

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    Uhhh...just don't let the chickens into a newly worm seeded area.
     
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  4. Oct 3, 2017
    Joel_BC

    Joel_BC Almost Self-Reliant

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    Just a couple thoughts, and I'm not sure what they're worth really.

    Our gardens have essentially sandy soil, but both the people who owned this land before us and we ourselves have amended the soil worked toward developing a reasonable topsoil. So I assume this history goes back to the mid 1950s, when the land was cleared of trees.

    We find the common earthworms and also "nightcrawlers" (like a giant earthworm) in our soil.

    As to red wigglers. They show up spontaneously in our compost bins, so I believe their eggs are in the bins. But when we apply compost that has lots of red wigglers in it to our gardens, after a fairly short while we never run across red wigglers in the garden soil. Even when weeding or digging, we just don't see them. I don't know what happens to them, but their habitat seems to be in the compost materials so long as these are cool, not hot from bacteria processing the carbon/nitrogen materials.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  5. Oct 3, 2017
    milkmansdaughter

    milkmansdaughter Almost Self-Reliant

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    That was my thought Joel, that maybe the garden area is just too hot yet as it breaks down. Or maybe there are birds or another worm predator really fattening up on your worms?
    If you go 5-10 feet away from the garden, where it is not amended, and turn the soil, are there worms there?
    Also, has it been very dry recently? Especially hot and dry? Maybe they need more (or less) moisture? I've been trying to start a worm colony, but I keep forgetting to give them a little moisture...
     
  6. Oct 4, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Almost Self-Reliant

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    thank you all for the replies. Not there's no worms anywhere on the property that I have found. We have had dry periods and very wet periods and I have not seen any either time. The garden stays moist because of the mulch. I wet it sometimes but it just seems to stay moist more than before the mulch. The mulch isn't getting hot like a compost pile. But it is slowly braking down. There's a thin layer of black goodness between the mulch and sand now.

    I spread rabbit manure over the mulch every now and then. Not much but maybe a 5 gallon bucket over the 40x40 area. I'm hopeful it will help speed decomposition.


    I don't even have worms in the dirt under the rabbit hutch! I think the property is just barren. I've never seen worms on a beach before either. I think it's just because there's no food for them
     
  7. Oct 4, 2017
    milkmansdaughter

    milkmansdaughter Almost Self-Reliant

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    Sooo, this got me wondering and I started reading more on worms. For whatever reason, it's easy to find a lot of information from the UK. I use my phone to post and haven't figured out how to post links but I read that worms don't like to be disturbed and working in the area a lot can chase them away. Also when introducing them to a plot, you want to add colonies, preferably still in their colony plot to give them time to adjust. If you spread them out on top, most will get eaten by birds or killed by the sun. They are hesitant to immediately start burrowing into new territory. It also said, if you introduce worms, you want to introduce a lot of them, and then not disturb the area for a while (preferably a year! :ep) apparently, covering with black plastic will encourage worms to come. (That's what I've read so far...)
    I'm thinking that if there aren't any in other places, you'd have to introduce them. At least with the layering, you would disturb them less than you would tilling. Good luck!
     
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  8. Oct 4, 2017
    Joel_BC

    Joel_BC Almost Self-Reliant

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    Can't say for certain, but I'm not sure the black-plastic method would work if you've never seen any earthworms in the vicinity.

    But, Chic Rustler, I do think your layering of mulch (which will rot-in), and additions of manure, etc will result in a living soil. It'll get deeper and deeper with time. Because it's very clear that the three previous owners of our formerly-woodland, sandy-soil place did this... and so have we done so.

    Here's a Google search that could be of some usefulness if you want to "seed in" some earthworms. If I were living in your situation and working-up a sandy soil, I'd give this a try as a way to speed the process...

    https://www.google.ca/search?source...131k1j0i3k1j0i22i30k1j0i13i30k1.0.2Mpavo06Cpk
     
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  9. Oct 5, 2017
    sumi

    sumi Super Self-Sufficient Administrator

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    This is very interesting! We have a shipload of earthworms here. Big ones, huge ones, small ones, they are everywhere it seems. In my previous house I often found them crawling into the house even! Wish I could send you a bucketful @Chic Rustler I think it's because our soil is so rich and well, wet. It's hard to find completely dry soil here, unless it's been under cover for awhile.
     
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  10. Oct 5, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    Mushrooms must grow well there!
     

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