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What do worms do?  It depends on what type of worms you’re wondering about.  There are over 17,000 species of macro (larger sized)annelids or worms.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worm  for today we’ll concentrate on terrestrial annelids or what normal people call them….Earth worms.   There are 3 main families of soil dwelling worms, common Earthworms, Night crawlers, (Dew worms) and Leaf Litter worms, (Red composting worms).   We are often asked, “why can’t I just put the Red worms in my in my garden?”  and we always reply, “because they don’t live in gardens”  Composting worms are Leaf litter worms and live in the thin layer of decomposing material under the leaf litter and on top of the soil.  They do not burrow into top soil like an earthworm or Nightcrawler does.  They live in the top strata and require a richer, protein heavier diet.  Chances are if placed in your garden Red worms would perish.  Earthworms however are perfect in your garden and should be encouraged to stay.

Earth worms live in the first 6-8 inches of topsoil, they provide vital aeration and actually mix soil layers given enough time.  They are prey animals for a multitude of predators and provide a valuable link in the food chain.  Yes, they regenerate, modestly and success depends on the amount of damage and type of worm.  Worms add important soil nutrients in the form of castings thus aiding plant growth.  Beneficial micro-organisms used in digestion are added to the soil along with Humus strengthening it and improving water retention.  you can not go wrong with garden worms, the more the merrier. 

The reason we’ve decided to review “worms 101” is because were heading into another lesson with Traditional gardener Audrey this time exploring the story of the “Dancing Worms”.  Stay tuned for the next instalment.


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