Can I Put Earthworms In My Raised Vegetable Garden Bed? Helpful Examples

Earthworms increase nutrient availability in the soil. They improve drainage and create a stable soil structure as well. They reduce soil bulk density by creating larger pores with their burrows. These pores allow water and air to flow into the soil. Can I add them to my raised beds?

The limited space and rapid temperature changes can harm earthworms in elevated beds. If your raised beds touch the ground, worms are comfortable as they can move in and out. Favorable soil conditions will attract more earthworms into your raised beds.

Gardeners often use a well-aerated rich growing mix for their elevated beds. It does not need the help of earthworms to loosen the soil. Instead, they can add vermicompost to their raised beds without making earthworms suffer.

Earthworms start their life as fertilized eggs wrapped in protective cocoons. They are hermaphrodites and carry both male and female reproductive organs. They breathe through their skin. They have a tube-within-a-tube body plan.

As earthworms feed, they excrete soil-like waste packed with nutrients. This cast can change minerals and plant nutrients to an accessible form for plants. Their tunneling distributes nutrients around the soil. It helps to nourish deeper-rooted plants.

Earthworms feed on plant debris and other organic matter in the soil. They leave their casts as they tunnel through the earth. 

Are Earthworms Good For Vegetables?

Earthworms’ cast is five times richer in nitrogen and seven times in phosphates. It is eleven times richer in potassium. It contains 1000 times more bacteria than the original soil. Earthworms provide vital nutrients and an environment conducive to plant growth.

A worm can produce more than 4.5 kg of cast per year. It enhances soil structure by creating burrows and breaking down organic matter. These burrowings increase soil aeration and drainage. 

The earthworms also change the organic component that keeps soil healthy. Their soil gut passage improves soil crumb structure. As a result, soil holds more water.

By breaking down thatch, earthworms help grow grass well. Casts cement or bind the soil particles. It creates heavier lumps called aggregates that reduce soil erosion. Further, it improves root penetration, moisture retention, and drainage. It decreases soil and nutrient loss due to runoff.

Tunneling and burrowing actions of earthworms loosen the compacted soil. It helps plants and turfgrass to develop a deep root system. They help clean and repair damaged or contaminated soil through bioremediation. 

Wildlife like birds helpful in pollination finds earthworms a rich food source. Their other predators, like small mammals and reptiles, help biodiversity.

How To Attract Earthworms To My Soil?

Conditions that are optimal for grass and plant growth promote earthworms. While they prefer a pH range of 6-7, they can tolerate a range of 5-8. Increase organic matter in your soil to attract more earthworms. It gives food to keep the worm population alive. 

Keep the soil moist. Earthworms can lose up to a fifth of their body weight as castings and mucus in a day.

Improve soil drainage, as earthworms cannot live in flooded soil. Reduce frequent tillage and deep digging as it damages their eggs. Try to avoid stepping on the ground or using large machines there. Reduce the use of chemicals that may harm their reproduction. 

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides can increase soil acidity. Keep the soil’s temperature between 50 and 60 0F. This range is conducive for these cold-blooded creatures. Amend your soil to enhance its clay content, as they thrive in the loamy soil.


How Can I Raise Earthworms In My Garden?

Earthworm casting contains over two times the nutrient value of cow manure. Adequate organic matter and drainage allow you to grow earthworms in any container. It helps you raise them for vermiculture. Keep them cool and moist using bedding materials that are deep enough. 

Sprinkle the bed with small amounts of water during dry periods. Provide some protection from heavy rains in high rainfall areas. If not, the worms will escape from the bed or die. 

Use gravel, sand, and a perforated septic tank drainage line in the base of the bed. It will help prevent flooding. Construct the beds under a roof to avoid flooding. It will provide shade to help maintain the correct temperature range as well. 

Use two-thirds of topsoil and one-third of decayed organic matter for bedding material. You can use fresh manure, kitchen waste, and ground livestock feeds to nourish them. Avoid overfeeding, which can lead to excessive fermentation in the bed.

How Can I Make Vermicompost?

Vermicompost is the combination of worm castings and broken-down organic matter. A worm bin or box is necessary to make vermicompost. 

The container should be shallow and 8-12 inches deep. You can use a plastic or concrete tank for this. It needs to have drainage holes in the bottom.

Add a 2-3 inches layer of soil or sand at the bottom of the tank. Sprinkle water after each layer. Put leaf litter, manure, and other biodegradable wastes on this sand layer. 

Then release the earthworms over the mixture. Cover them with straw or gunny bags. Continue regular watering and turn the vermin bed once or twice a month. Watch this video to learn how to make a vermicompost bin. 

What Is Vermicompost Tea?

Steeping or brewing the vermicompost in water makes nutrient absorption easier for plants. Add about 1/4 cup of vermicompost or vermicastings to a gallon of water. 

Let it steep overnight. Then, strain it by pouring the mixture through a filter or fine sieve. This video shows you how to prepare vermicompost tea.

Can I Put Red Wigglers In My Vegetable Garden?

Red wiggler worms are a species of earthworm. They are most suitable for raised garden beds as they prefer to stay near the surface. They are efficient at breaking down decaying organic matter and creating fertile soil. But their natural feeding habits can harm your plants in some cases.

Do Earthworms Eat Plant Roots?

Food sources for earthworms include animal manure, decaying roots, and leaves. They also eat nematodes, rotifers, protozoans, bacteria, and fungi in the soil.
They do not tend to harm living roots but prefer to have bacteria and fungi close to them.

Can Earthworms Live In Raised Beds?

With extra considerations, you can add earthworms to your raised garden bed. Enrich your beds with organic matter like compost, lawn clippings, and sawdust. Avoid adding worms into elevated beds or raised beds with enclosed bottoms. Avoid beds sitting on solid material as well.

Red wigglers and nightcrawlers are well-suited for raised garden beds. Red wigglers like to stay near the surface and are ideal for a shorter raised bed. Nightcrawlers prefer to burrow deeper into the ground. They are suitable for deep beds or ones with more compacted earth.

Which Worms Are Bad For The Garden?

Jumping worms, nematodes, tiger worms, and cutworms can harm your plants. They can damage or kill your plants by eating their way through root systems. They consume organic matter that plants depend on. It deprives plants of the nutrients they need to grow.

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