Healthy Soil, No Worms in Sight, I Don't Get It! Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by NatGreeneVeg, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. NatGreeneVeg

    NatGreeneVeg Member

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    Location:
    Springfield, MO, USA
    I'm a long time gardener but I haven't had enough time to delve into the depths of soil knowledge as much as I should. I'm a big believer in healthy soil yields healthy plants. Get your soil test and don't use synthetic products.

    Now, I did a soil test this spring. We didn't need to amend according to the test. This is for a public demonstration garden where the produce is donated to a local food bank that serves 29 counties.

    Well, our vegetable garden literally turned into a jungle. And I learned just how vigorous grafted tomato plants can be. I grafted them myself, they turned into monster plants. We planted mini zinnias, marigolds, and other low growing flowering plants along the paths because they were supposed to be small. Well, everything grew so well, they grew over the paths. The marigolds and zinnias were supposed to be no more than 12"-14" inches tall. The marigolds were 3 feet and the zinnias were 4-5 feet tall.



    This garden has only had compost added every year made from the city's yard waste recycling program. No synthetic fertilizers.

    I've been volunteering in this garden every other year for seven years. This season I was in charge of it. In all the time I've worked in the garden, I've only ever seen literally a handful of worms... less than 10 total. The other surrounding beds which are amended according to what's being grown in them seem to have worms.

    Here is a copy of the soil test.

    To see the garden, look here. There's no doubt in my mind that the soil will make plants grow. I just don't understand the lack of worm population. Can someone please explain this to me? Any theories?
     
  2. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    X-maryland now New Mexico
    I've been studying worms lately. It is theorized that the last great iceage wiped out all the worms in North America and worms we see are introduced varieties. They are slow to migrate and hence worms are found in more developed areas. There is good and bad in worms but to answer one of your question, worms are not essential in making good compost. This might answer some of your questions:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=invasive-earthworms-denude-forests

    Again there is good and bad... search vermiculture for some good.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Voles and other nocturnal rodents could be a source of your concern... though burrowing and tunnelling should be fairly visible to the untrained eye. I noticed this in one of my beds, and there are no earth worms of any abundance....
     
  4. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox Member

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    It's possible that you may have to add some worms to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
     
  5. NatGreeneVeg

    NatGreeneVeg Member

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    Thanks for your response. I'm not wanting to add worms, first because if the soil is already rich in organic matter and they don't have enough food to turn into organic matter, then I don't want to put them in a place they wouldn't be content. Second, I'm not overly concerned about the lack of worms, I'm more curious as to why this would be the case.

    The soil is extremely rich in nutrients. Plants grow exponentially well already in this soil. The last link in the first post will show you the garden.
     
  6. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox Member

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    Location:
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    Nat, it's got me baffled, especially as you say it's only ever had compost added to it. I get the best worms wherever I put grass clippings or leaf mulch, I'm not sure if you have mulch on your garden, but if it's too warm and bright, they burrow down to where it's dark.
     

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