Sunday, 23 November 2014

Day 22 - Wonders of worms

Day 22

I was at Nosterfield Nature Reserve today and I'll be doing a post about this site and my walk soon. While I was there though I saw these chaps and realised I didn't know as much as maybe I should about them. I found these coming back along the path when we were looking for things in the soil. The two worms below are the same worms but the one in the left has must been turned over.
Earthworm (Lumbricidae)
Earthworms, if you didn't know already, are how compost bins work. The following is the process of composting:

  • You throw away your vegetables into your compost bin.
  • The earthworms will then eat the vegetables.           
  • The worms will digest the food and their waste will enrich the soil and be compost.
So if you ever wonder where your compost comes from, there you go.

Here are some more facts about worms:
  • Worms don't have legs, they have hairs or bristles over their segmented bodies.
  • They don't have lungs they breathe through their skin! The skin must remain moist so that they can move and breathe, and they keep themselves moist by releasing a fluid.
  • Worms have been on this planet for 600,000,000 (six hundred million)
  • Some are microscopically small and some are as big as 3m long!
  • Worms are hermaphrodite which means they are male and female, they do need another worm to reproduce with though.
  • They lay eggs from which emerge tiny baby worms. Here is a picture from our compost bin of those baby worms:

  • Worms can live for up to 10 years but this is unusual as a) they make a tasty meal and b) they may die from other causes such as drying up on a sunny day or drowning in waterlogged soil.
  • Contrary to popular belief cutting a worm in half will not make two worms - however the fatter pink part will survive while the other half dies.
  • They hate daylight and always bury themselves into soil which is why the worm we saw at Nosterfield was put straight back onto the soil.
  • Worms really are a gardener's best friend. They can eat their own weight in organic waste and soil and excrete their own weight in castings daily which is how compost is made, see above, and enriches the soil.
  • They never eat living plants whereas a slug does.
  • There are 6,000 species of worms globally and 27 species of Earthworm living in Britain.
  • The Lob Worm is Britain's largest Earthworm
Here are some links to more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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