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February 15th, 2017 is the day of the earthworm. A reason for us to remember our diligent fellow gardeners, because the work they do in the garden, can not be enough appreciated. Earthworms are the gardener's best friend, because they contribute significantly to soil improvement. They manage this incidentally, because the worms drag their food, such as rotting leaves, under the ground and thus ensure in a natural way that the lower soil layers are again penetrated by nutrients. Furthermore, the excretions of the worms are worth gardening gold, because compared to normal soil, the clumps of earthworms contain significantly more nutrients and act as a natural fertilizer. They contain:
- 2 to 2 1/2 times lime
- 2 to 6 times magnesium
- 5 to 7 times more nitrogen
- 7 times phosphorus
- 11 times potash
In addition, the dug tunnels aerate and loosen the soil, which helps the decomposing bacteria working there to improve their soil quality. With around 100 to 400 worms per square meter of soil, there is a rather impressive number of diligent garden helpers. But the worms have a hard time in times of industrialized agriculture and garden used in the garden.
Wurmhäufchen, so the feces of earthworms, can be annoying for lawn friends
The earthworm diversity is threatened
In Germany, 46 species of earthworms are known. But the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warns that half of the species are already considered "very rare" or even "extremely rare". The consequences are obvious: nutrient-poor soil, less yield, more fertilizer use and therefore fewer worms. A classic vicious circle, which is already commonplace in industrial agriculture. Fortunately, the problem in the home gardens but still limited, but here - mostly for the sake of simplicity - increases the use of chemical agents that harm the garden fauna, too. For example, domestic sales of crop protection active ingredients in Germany rose from around 36,000 tonnes in 2003 to around 46,000 tonnes in 2012 (according to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety). Assuming a consistent development, 2017 sales are expected to be around 57,000 tonnes.
Compost heaps in your own garden provide worms with food and, over time, provide excellent garden soil
Do something good for the earthworm
To keep the use of fertilizers in your garden to a minimum, the motto is: Make the worm as comfortable as possible. It actually does not need much. Especially in the fall, when the beds are cleared anyway and the leaves fall, you should not remove the entire leaves from the garden. Instead, work the leaves directly into your beetle. This will provide you with enough food and concomitant worm offspring. The use of pesticides should be based on biological agents such as stinging nettle or similar. And a compost heap also keeps the worm population in your garden healthy.