Worms are the fastest natural composters in the World and as long as you provide reasonable conditions for them they will add nutrients and aerate the soil as well as turn it for you.
The key to all this is to let them do the work – and they prefer not to be disturbed – whether that’s by the plough, the rotovator or the spade.
We’ve known this for sometime… In 1881 Charles Darwin, the great biologist better-known for his theory of evolution wrote: "There are few animals that have played so important a part in the history of the world as these lowly organized creatures."
If you are thinking of adding worms to your garden or raised beds you need two types for maximum effect Night crawlers (also known as garden worms, lob worms or lumbricus terrestris) are key for your soil. They make large, vertical, permanent burrows that extend up to 2 metres deep, unless destroyed by tillage. The crawlers pull plant residues down like grass clipping and leaves into their burrows, where the residues soften and are eaten later.
Shallow-dwelling earthworms are often known as composting worms – red worms or dendra worms and whilst they are found in most soils they thrive in rich organic matter (such as leaf mould on a forest floor or manure. They mostly live in the top 30cm of your soil and make fantastic compost as long as you provide them with the organic matter to thrive on.
How to introduce worms into your soil
This is a very simple process. Dig a few holes in your soil or raised beds and pop a couple of handfuls of Garden Worms and Composting worms into the holes. They will work their way into the soil from there. You cant over populate your soil with worms so for a raised bed of around 2m x 1m I would add around 100 garden worms and 500g-1kg of composting worms to give them a good start.
1) Maintain a decent organic content in the soil - at least 2% - so adding compost and manure will help encourage your worms to breed.
2) Avoid tilling the soil as much as possible and use a no till method where you can.
3) Avoid pesticides and herbicides.
You can buy both types of worms from Wiggly Wigglers
Garden Worms (Night Crawlers) https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/products/garden-worms
Composting Worms (Shallow Dwelling) https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/products/composting-worms