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Posted by on May 25, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

Why Are Earthworms Good for Garden Soil?

Why Are Earthworms Good for Garden Soil?

Why Are Earthworms Good for Garden Soil? Earthworm is an animal with a long, rounded body divided into compartments known as segments.

As earthworms burrow through the soil, they swallow mouthfuls, digesting tiny food particles and passing the waste out behind them, leaving the familiar worm casts. The worms help to mix soil and leaf litter as they burrow through it.

An earthworm’s body is streamlined and every segment contains a number of bristles called setae. The streamlined shape helps the earthworm travel through soil, and the bristles improve grip if the soil is wet. Circular muscles surround every segment of an earthworm’s body.

Earthworms are also called night crawlers because they burrow down in the ground during the day and come above ground at night to feed. An earthworm has a small brain, a digestive system, a reproductive system and a circulatory system with five pairs of hearts.

Earthworms breathe through their skin instead of with lungs. In Australia there are giant earthworms which can reach a length of 3m (10 ft).

How earthworms are friends of farmers? Earthworms are known as farmers’ best friends because of the multitude of services they provide that improve soil health and consequently plant health.

Earthworms are great “soil engineers”. As they move through the soil, earthworms loosen and mix it up, helping to aerate and drain it. The soil, in addition to being the habitat for crops, also nurtures other organisms, some of which can cause devastating diseases to plants.

Earthworm Fact: If you cut an earthworm in two, the rear half will always die, and the front half may live to become another whole worm. This is called regeneration.

The front part must be long enough to contain the clitellum and at least 10 segments behind the clitellum. This makes up about half the length of the worm. The new posterior segments grown will be slightly smaller in diameter than the original segments and sometimes a bit lighter in color.

Content for this question contributed by Derek Krout, resident of York, York County, Pennsylvania, USA