As we have learned on my previous post, soil plays a vital role on the growth of the plants. It gives nutrients to the plants which is needed for them to grow. After learning the pH test and type of soil, let us learn how healthy your soil is through earthworm test.
What are earthworms?
As we have long-established, earthworms are classified into three according to their habitat:
- Epigeic or the litter dwellers – 3 to 4 inches long. They live in crops/ forest debris and compost. Ex. red worms.
- Endogeics or the top soil dwellers – 4 to 7 inches long. They live in the upper 2 to 3 inches of the soil and create horizontal burrow to move around and feed. Ex. Allolobophora chlorotica
- Anecic or the deep soil-burrowers – 8 to 10 inches long. The live 5 to 6 feet down in the soil in vertical burrows. They carry with them the plant residues for them to feed to their burrows and excrete their cast on the surface. Earthworm cast is the richest and best of all fertilizers for it contains nutrients (N, P, K and Ca). Ex. night crawlers
What is their importance in the soil?
If you scan on my older post, you will find an inforgraphic about the worth of the worm. Earthworms are indeed a friendly helper in the garden for they help contributes nutrients the soil, improve porosity, tilth and root development. Earthworm casts infuse the soil with enzymes, plant nutrients, bacteria and organic matter that needed for a healthy soil. Since these earthworms creates burrows, they aerates and till the soil in the process. Due to this, it create a healthy environment for the plants.
How is Earthworm Test done?
- When the soil is not too dry or too wet (at least 55 degrees), you can have this test done.
- Dig a hole in your garden about 1 foot square and 6 inches deep and place it in a shallow try
- Count the number of earthworm in the tray.
- Check this scale for results:
1 earthworm – need a lot of work
5-9 almost there but still need more compost
10 – Congratulations! You have a healthy soil!
“Earthworm activity is less likely in the desert because
worms don’t like hot soil.”
What can you do to increase the population of your soil?
All you need to do is add more organic matter to the soil and do the following practices boost earthworm populations:
Tillage Management (no-till, strip till, ridge till)
Crop Rotation (with legumes) and Cover Crops
Manure & Organic By-product Application
Pasture & Hayland Management
Soil Reaction (pH) Management
Irrigation or Drainage
Indeed, earthworms are our helpful friend in the garden thus be sure to make their population grow for a healthier soil!