Have You Tried?

Worm Clues – Looking at Dirt

March 2, 2011
a pile of orange leaves

No, not this newsletter but the real thing beneath our feet – the ground, the soil. At this time of year you will begin to see little dirt mounds on what was smooth ground. The earthworms are starting to come up from their Winter ‘sleep’ underground. These mounds or castings (made of soil, leaves and other digested items that have travelled through the worm’s gut) show us that the earthworms are very busy mixing layers of soil and helping to spread nutrients.

Using a twig or a finger, gently move aside one of these worm mounds to see the worm’s hole or maybe even the worm itself! As an overnight experiment, clear away some of the mounds from one patch of earth by gently scraping the soil. Come back the next day to find more mounds freshly dug overnight. Do it again another day, but this time put a layer of dead leaves over the area to see if having a ‘roof’ encourages more worms to tunnel, dig and leave little piles of earthworm clues.