no earthworms in my garden

Hi, I just started to do organic gardening in my yard. I planted several vegetables last year, but the harvest was very poor dispite the fact that I tried to improve the soil by putting a lot of compost. Recently I noticed that there is only a few eathworms in the yard. I was digging up the ground in my yard for more than a hour, but I only saw one earthworm. Could anybody tell me why my land does not have a lot of eathworms, and how to increase the numbers of them? Thank you very much in advance.
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Try adding more compost and organic material. Also is the soil too dry? Or too moist? Try adding a thick layer of mulch as well. See if you can get your hands on composted steer manure, and just pile it onto the garden bed, right on the surface, just leave it there for a month or two and see if they come up to composted steer manure.
Also mix in some blood meal and bone meal while you're at it, to help the plants for this year.
Sameer
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So you lied. Your garden does have earthworms. Maybe most of them left because they don't like your negative attitude? You may be looking for them at the wrong time of the year. Get a soil analysis from your local extension service and tell them your problem. Do a google search on earth worms and find out all about them and what they need. How many do you need anyway?

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snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) wrote in message

Earth,freshly dug ground needs organic manure preferably well rotted horse manure. Ordinary compost does not contain the correct nutriments for worms. You could dig a trench 18 inches deep and fill it with household waste (not meat products) and cover it with a layer of soil. It will take a year to produce any results. Regards Dan Flynn
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Hmmm, I have plenty of worms and never added manure, only compost. I had them even though the place had been abandoned for seven years. To help my stubborn wisteria, I started adding coffee grounds directly to the bed and am hoping to see better blossoming this year. If not, at least I have some happy, caffeinated wrigglers.........
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On 21 Feb 2004 23:50:36 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) wrote:

If you have moist soil, and organic matter now, what are the surrounding yards like? Are they the sort that go and get stuff to kill worms because they don't like the bumps they make with their castings when they come to the surface to feed (nightcrawlers)?
They have to migrate to an area where there is food for them, and food for worms is organic matter.
I don't know where you live, but if anyone sells worms for fishermen to use as bait, buy some and scatter them around your yard after it's been well watered.. in the late evening or after dark. Nightcrawlers come to the surface at night and place their castings on the surface, red worms leave their castings below the surface. That's about all I know about types of worms. However there are many different types and kinds of worms around the world, so perhaps talk with someone knowledgable in your area. Agricultural offices, universities with horticultural programs that address organic gardening, garden shops that address organic gardening. Many still only follow a "better gardening through chemistry" attitudes, so check around!
Janice
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On Sun, 22 Feb 2004 08:45:08 -0700, Janice

Nightcrawlers can make a mess of a lawn. The casting piles they leave upset the smooth surface, if you like to walk barefoot (I do) they are uncomfortable. I seem to have lots of worms without doing anything special. I live where it is warm, that may have something to do with it.
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Want worms?
1. Use composted horse or cow manure. 2. Use coffee grounds.
Go here: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/verm /
Fito
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Some areas are poor in them, I have a garden in a desert field, and the only ones I'll find out there are the ones I've put into the beds as I built them up.
I've got a kiddys pool which I'm going to make into a worm farm.
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On 21 Feb 2004 23:50:36 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) wrote:

I don't have a specific answer. But, earthworms are crawling throughout my compost piles--lots of them. They seem to reproduce in rotting leaves, so if you have leaf piles left over from last fall look in there for worms. You may want to start a worm farm.
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from snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) contains these words:

My new garden was just the same when I arrived 18 months ago. It didn't have many birds either. The elderly previous owner had used a lot of weedkiller to "tidy up" before the sale :-(.
Just add as much organic material as you can possibly lay hands on. Straw, hay, seaweed, grass cuttings,chopped weeds, manure, cardboard and newspaper, kitchen veg waste. Old manure piles are rich in worms to "seed" a breeding population. No need to dig it in; layer the material on top of the soil (or on grass where you want to make beds) and worms will magically appear, start breeding and feeding, and drag it down.
Our soil is full of worms now, and there are dozens of birds scratching around to find them.
Janet
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snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) wrote in

I swear, every other time I dug up a dandelion last fall, an earthworm came up with it.
But maybe earthworms just don't live in Japan. If you do a search on Google, you may find an article that says earthworms aren't native to the US and aren't very widespread in the western half of the country (if i recall correctly). You will probably also find some articles about an introduced species of planarian (a flat worm) that has decimated earthworms in England.
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It was expected to, but hasn't afaik. That's the New Zealand flatworm, which probably arrived in the UK with imported plants. Hideous things, they look very like leeches and exude a lot of slime which is supposed to be harmful to human skin. It's quite sensitive to temperature, climate and habitat, for instance it lives above ground and dies at 30 % C. Early fears about the devastation of native worm populations haven't come to pass.
When I moved here last year, I was appalled to find over a dozen NZ flatworms under some pots and turves. At first I blamed them for the awful lack of earth worms in the garden but nobody else in the island gardening club has had NZF's so I think I probably imported them myself on nursery plants. I've not seen any more since, and a huge earthworm population appeared as soon as food was provided.
Janet. (Isle of Arran)
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had the area been bare of plants for previous years?
piling leaves on and growing some kind of easily eradicable 'cover crop' should liven up the earthworms.
also I assume you're checking for worms during their season of activity?
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You probably assume wrong, LanescrapHorst.
He says he has been looking only recently while they are mostly hibernating for the winter.
He may as well be looking for sun spots in the middle of the night.
He should do a google search for earthworms and read up on them before going into a panic over nothing.

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snipped-for-privacy@ybb.ne.jp (forgotten field) wrote in message

Everyone has made some great suggestions. However no one mentioned what chemicals, insecticides, or fertilizers were previously used in your yard. All can have drastic effects in decimating the earthworm populations. You may need to follow the suggestions in a small area and expand as the earthworm population grows.
Mulch and planting ground cover helps to protect the worms from predators. Do not use plastic. Fabric because it breathes, can be used with care, leave open spaces for the worms to reach the surface. If your ground is still cold, the earthworms will be deep to protect themselves from freezing.
Coffee grounds and plain corn meal are a good food for earthworms, quick acting while you are getting the worms established. Coffee grounds act as a deterrent against slugs. Grits or corn meal helps to control ants.
As far as the manure goes, fresh horse manure can be too "hot" and if not composted can contain weed seeds. If you know of a place that has rabbit or goat manure available, it is generally cleaner (relatively speaking) and easier to disburse.
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