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No worms.

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by hoofy, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    I've dug a patch but there were hardly any worms. Will putting a good layer of composted bark mulch over it sort the problem?

    Will the worms just come or should I introduce them myself?
     
  2. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    Dig in garden compost, manure, dried manure etc. Hoofy. Not convinced bark will be as good. Grow green manure too.
    The more "goodness" in the top soil the more worms you will have there. Far better than introducing worms...in fact, if the soil remains poor, without improving, the worms will disappear
    How about a photo of the soil you have dug :)
     
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    • hoofy

      hoofy Gardener

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      I'll get a picture tomorrow before the bark goes on. When I dug it, it looked pretty good to me, apart from it having no worms. It was pretty uniform in texture, very easy to break up, and no rocks or clay. Nice colour too, but someone who knows what they're on about might beg to differ.

      I was planning to put a ton of the bark mulch on, which I've already bought (smells lovely and sweet and nice and steaming) and I was planning on putting more compost on in the spring.
       
    • ARMANDII

      ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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      Well, lack of worms points to the absence of normal organic material in the soil and plants do depend on that. So it all depends on whether or not you want to encourage worms in that area as covering it with bark will not help.:dunno:

      Well, putting compost on top of a bark mulch seems pointless to me as it's better to put it underneath the mulch.:dunno::coffee::snorky:
       
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      • noisette47

        noisette47 Total Gardener

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        Just a thought, but is the soil very dry? I know that the worms in my soil seem to 'disappear' in the summer and early autumn, but reappear near the surface once the soil becomes damp. Ease of movement, I suppose :)
         
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        • hoofy

          hoofy Gardener

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          Have I dropped a clanger.:whistle:

          The mulch doesn't look like bark, it's very well rotted. Looks like compost to me.

          I haven't put it on yet, I've just made a pile at the back of the bed. What should I do?

          All I'm trying to do is improve the soil to grow better plants.
           
        • hoofy

          hoofy Gardener

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          That might be it. I really don't know, maybe they will come back.
           
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          • ARMANDII

            ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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            Not if you don't put the compost on of the bark mulch:dunno::heehee:


            To be honest, hoffy,I would just leave the bark mulch for the time being, (never be in a rush with gardening:dunno:) and if you really want to improve the soil in that area add some compost. You can use manure from Stables if you have any near you, they will usually give it you free quite happily and always use the black stuff. You can buy 125 liter bales of general purpose compost from B&Q for around £7.....if you do, get the peat added compost rather than the peat free. You can also use used compost from pots that you've grown plants in.
            Bark is used as a decorative mulch while also deterring weeds and keeping moisture in the soil. There are different kinds of mulch other than bark, general purpose compost can be used as a mulch, black plastic sheeting can be used to kill off weeds, warm the soil and can be taken off when needed.
            So I would get the cheapest compost you can, while thinking of (if you have the space) starting a compost heap. I have one on which goes newspapers, shredded paper, egg shells, tea bags, plant cuttings, cardboard, and anything recyclable that will rot down, but no food. I have a fairly large one and every year it rots down and goes on the borders.

            [​IMG]

            So if your goal is to improve the soil use compost, manure and either dig it in or use it as a mulch by covering the soil in a thick layer and let the worms that will appear and drag it down in the soil. There is no such thing as a quick one shot fix when improving soil. If you keep adding compost etc over time that will improve the soil and grow the plants you want.:coffee::snorky:
             
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            • Mike Allen

              Mike Allen Gardener

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              There are usually more than one type of worm in the soil. These have their own level in which they live. All worms need moisture as they soon dry out and die. Periods of persitant dry weather and lack of rainfall, the worms will go deeper and appear to vanish. In severe dry spells the worms could still lack enough moisture to survive and that's it.
               
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              • hoofy

                hoofy Gardener

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                So my new plan is to leave the pile of mulch and get some well rotted manure. Dig the manure in and then put the mulch over the top.

                Should I put the mulch over as soon as I've put on the manure, or leave the mulch in the pile until the spring?
                 
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                • ARMANDII

                  ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                  Or some compost:dunno: I'm lucky I have around 8 stables within a mile of me and at least 30 within 5 miles.

                  It'll probably give you more satisfaction to put the bark on the layer of manure/compost now:dunno::heehee:
                   
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                  • WeeTam

                    WeeTam Total Gardener

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                    Isnt horse manure full of weed seed? We are always told if you let horses graze in your field you will have plenty thistles and weeds growing in the following years ?
                     
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                    • ARMANDII

                      ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                      Depends on the Stables it comes from...........I didn't get Thistles or weeds in mine.....but I have the National Collection of Horse Shoes after 30 years of using Horse manure.:dunno::heehee:
                       
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                      • CanadianLori

                        CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                        Yes. Always a concern. I once used Alpaca poo and was not happy to have loads of weeds enjoy germinating from it and also benenfiting from it! There was one piece of poo that came in handy. A lump just the right size to plug a rodent hole ...:biggrin:
                         
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                        • ARMANDII

                          ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                          We're okay here, Lori, we've no Alpaca Stables around here:dunno::heehee:
                           
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