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Garden vs compost worms

19th December 2019

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We help to decipher the difference between garden worms and compost worms

Any keen gardener will tell you that worms play an important part in keeping your garden healthy. Not only do worms improve the drainage of your soil, they also help to fertilise and till the ground to help create the perfect conditions for plant growth. Garden worms, or lobworms as they are also known, create deep burrows in the earth and are an essential part of the garden’s eco-system. But what is the difference between garden worms and compost worms?
Garden worms, known as earthworms and lobworms (Lumbricus terrestris), are a species of worm that make deep burrows in the soil. By creating deep burrows, the worms act like mini-ploughs, helping to aerate, drain and feed the earth - improving the conditions from the bottom up. To do this, the worms take decaying plant material into their burrows, deep underground, and break it down with soil mineral particles to form water-soluble nutrients. Even though garden worms are active deep in the soil, they do sometimes emerge at night to feed on organic matter on the surface, pulling this along with fallen leaves and other plant debris into their tunnels which helps to enrich the soil even further and also encourages wildlife such as birds and hedgehogs to visit. So, if your soil is lacking in nutrients, is devoid of life, or is clay-based, adding garden worms will help to give it the health boost it needs. To do so, dig a shallow hole in the soil and add approximately 10 worms per sq metre. The worms should then be covered over with soil to stop bothersome birds from digging them up. Worms can be added to your soil all year round although they should not be added in prolonged dry and hot weather or when the ground is frozen. It’s also important to remember that worms are less active during extreme hot and cold weather as the ground conditions are less favourable so even though it might seem that the worms are gone, don’t worry, they’ll be back soon.
Compost worms, like garden worms, also break down decaying plant material. However, composting worms are different to normal garden ones because they prefer to live and work in the top couple of inches of soil and are naturally found in manure heaps and on the forest floor. Not only do compost worms prefer to live much higher up than garden worms, they’re much larger too, averaging around 2-3 inches in length compared to the garden worms much more modest size of 1/4 inches. It’s no wonder then that compost worms have an amazing appetite and are even able to consume around half their body weight in a single day! These worms are also known for being vigorous breeders and having a long life-span. This makes them the perfect choice for composting as they are able to break down organic matter and turn it into nutrient-rich compost.
This is a promotional blog post provided by who specialise in growing and supplying compost and garden worms in the UK. Based in Yorkshire, they have been growing composting worms such as Dendrobaena and Tiger worms for over 10 years. For the majority of customers looking for compost worms, they highly recommend a mix of Tiger and Dendrobaena that have great appetites and are comfortable sharing a wormery.

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