August 28, 2014

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My pet worms

By Kylee Baumle

Whether you’ve been gardening for a short time or as long as you can remember, if your garden is like most of those in Paulding County, the native clay can be maddening. My mom has said that instead of growing flowers, we should be making pottery. Every year, I add organic amendments to the soil to make it more plant-friendly, because many plants don’t do very well in heavy clay soils.

One thing that amazes me about the dense clay is how earthworms seem to move through it with little effort. Just dig into it and you’ll see evidence of this in the form of worm-sized tunnels in the soil. Earthworms are a sign that the soil is healthy; the more worms, the better!

I read a fascinating book a few months ago called The Earth Moved. Author Amy Stewart writes about how important earthworms are to the ecological balance of our environment. They aerate, purify, and enrich the soil just by moving through it, eating, and um ... pooping. It’s that worm poop (called “castings”) that works as such a great natural fertilizer that got me interested in raising worms of my own.