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How to encourage worms in the garden

Worm burrowHow about in the garden?  Earthworms can be very useful, speeding up decomposition of organic matter and working it into the soil.  Their burrows also form channels which fluff up compacted soil and give roots an easy avenue to grow down.  So far, I haven't seen anybody saying anything negative about earthworms in an agricultural setting, though please comment if you know otherwise!

The best way to expand your garden's earthworm population is to go no-till.  One study suggested that tilling up a garden dropped the earthworm population to a third of its former levels.  Mulching is another way to increase your earthworm levels, as is adding lime to raise the soil's pH.  Chemicals are a definite no-no if you want worms.

This post is part of our Earthworms in the Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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