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Posts Tagged ‘Earth Worms’

Earth Movers

You know it’s just rained when you walk outside and get hit with…..the smell of earthworms. I’ve helped a worm or two in my day by picking them off the sidewalk and planting them back in the grass, but my friend Thom takes it even a couple of steps further. Not wanting to squish the little guys, he clears them out of the way before pulling the car out of the drive. What he may not know is that he’s helping in other ways as well.

I feel the earth move under my feet

I knew little about earthworms but learned quite a bit through the University Of Illinois’ “The Adventures of Herman.”* I was flabbergasted to find out that there are around 500,000 worms in an acre of soil, (and some accounts say up to a million in really good soil). With all that burrowing going on, they’re the ultimate aerator. The work they do down there is equal to a drainage system of a 6-inch pipe 2,000 feet long. Crazy.

While moving through the earth, these little guys are also eating and casting (if you catch my drift) at the same time. These 500,000 earthworms can fill up 100,000 one-pound coffee cans with “castings”. I’m not even going to ask how the people who farm worms collect that fertilizer to sell to gardeners.

So, the worms increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil, breaks down organic matter, mixes it, aerates it and then fertilizes it. Next time I see a stranded earthworm on the sidewalk you bet I’ll help him back to Mother Earth. It’s the least I can do.

*urbanext.illinois.edu/worms
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