Worms to Our Rescue
I love worms! A hate killing (earth)worms when I am gardening. I even stop on runs or walks to pick one off the path and put it on the verge. If this seems an odd subject then bear in mind that in our new garden, in 2022, not a single worm could be found. However, by Autumn 2023, the worms are everywhere. I am going to take credit for that. I piled up the turf that I stripped off the lawns. As this rotted down the worm numbers exploded. I also planted well over 2000 plants over two summers. Now, when I remove a plant, like a dahlia tuber, worms are all around the roots. They obviously love those conditions. I also put loads of compost into the soil, all of which encourages these little stars. Worms to our rescue highlights what these little critters can do for us.
Worms in the world
I have no idea what the worm situation is worldwide. On the Earthshot prize programme I saw people planting trees in what looked like desert. No worms there, then. They don’t like dry conditions which is why they flourish here. However, having lots of worms tells you that the soil is in good condition. All the reports I read states that because we mostly use artificial fertilisers, no manure or other form of compost is added to the soil. It then progressively turns lighter and loses structure. For instance, if you grab a handful and compress it, it should hold together. If it does not then it is not loam, the very best of soils. The problem, of course, is that most countries don’t have the vegetative material to add to the soil. If you are not a grass country, like Britain, then it is really hard.
Worms to our rescue
The compost heap is really the star item. Make compost and lay it on the soil and the worms will love you. But who makes compost these days? Most people get the council to collect green waste. This is partly because compost heaps are seen as ugly and need to be out of sight. And who wants to turn a heavy compost heap over once or twice a year? Well, that’s me. However, I am a dying breed, one schooled in the old ways. That virtuous circle, the poo from cows spread on fields in order to grow grass to raise more cattle, is damned. Meat and dairy are dirty words. But the soil knew the difference. If the worms are prospering then the world prospers. Unfortunately, the worms are not prospering.