The most important workers of the soil are worms, scientific research has shown that a realistic population of earthworms in the soil has a positive effect on plant growth with an increase in crop production of 10% to 25% compared to soils with no worms, not to mention the positive effect that they have on the plants ability to fight disease and bug attack.
During the growing season, particularly in vegetable gardens, the worms will have been badly disturbed even damaged by the practice of digging over the plot, soils are becoming more and more depleted in worms to the point we sometimes struggle to find any, if this is the case in your garden then it is important to replace them.
As we head into autumn/winter and the busy harvesting period begins to slow we start to think about preparing the veg and flower beds for next year, adding organic matter such as compost, old manure etc is usually high on the list, this is an ideal time to also add those important worms, over the next few months they are the ones that will be working hard to break down and incorporate this organic matter into the soil and whilst they are doing this they are creating a network of tunnels allowing oxygen and moisture deep into the soil, as the worms feed, what goes in must come out, the wonderful casts often referred to as “Black Gold” and with good reason, they are jam packed with beneficial (to the plants) micro organisms – bacteria, fungii and a host of other benefits, this is worms working hard to prepare your plot!
“I was thus led to conclude that all the vegetable mould over the whole country has passed many times through, and will again pass many times through, the intestinal canals of worms. Hence the term “animal mould” would be in some respects more than that commonly used of “vegetable mould” “
That is why worms are so important they make the soil (vegetable mould)!