Where did you grow up?
Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. I was still young when I was mailed to the Jackson Rose Farm, where I have been working ever since.
How would you describe yourself?
I am all muscle, just one long tube of muscle, devoted to tunneling through soil. Bristles on each segment of muscle allows us to pull through the earth.
What do you do for the soil.
My cousins and I contribute in many ways. We are part of the soil food web. We tunnel through the soil and deposit our casts - we are always eating.
That sounds rather me-centered, or worm-centered. How is that good?
The effect of what we must do is good for all the creatures.
A grand statement - explain.
To live and reproduce, we have to tunnel through soil. These are our talking points:
- Tunneling loosens the soil, so roots can grow more easily.
- Our movement also allows more air to reach the soil and lighten it.
- Our digging means rain and tap-water can penetrate the lower levels better instead of running off.
- We are good for clay because we mix organic matter with it and loosen it.
- We are good for sandy soil, because we add organic matter to it, to hold more water.
- We concentrate the nutrition plants need in our casts, which are effective but gentle on plants.
- Our casts make the soil hold together better.
- We also excrete nitrogen products through our custom kidneys.
- We multiply rapidly and spread our eggs throughout the soil.
- We like sweet soil, but we also sweeten it more by adding Caltrate (TM) to the soil with our calcium carbonate glands. Most plants like sweet soil.
- Robins hunt us all the time, and yet people cheer for the robins.
- Moles consume us as they tunnel through the soil, but they like grubs too.
- Beetles and lizards eat earthworms.
- Centipedes hunt us.
- Ants bury our departed. So they say. They dine on us, to be frank.
- And fisherman dote on us, then dangle us in the water for fish to grab.
So how do you fit into the soil food web you mentioned?
We are the obvious sign of soil fertility. You cannot see the bacteria and protozoa, which are very important. Fungi are also microscopic. Fungi do the heavy lifting in breaking down organic matter like wood and bark. Compared to all the microbes, we are giant freight trains, moving bacteria and other microscopic life around. We are individually small, but we add up to monstrous size and weight per garden, always working and fertilizing. You dig a hole and call it heroic. We turn over all the soil - routinely.
What are your turn-ons?
We like organic matter on top of the soil. That gives us darkness for working it into the soil - we react against sunlight. We also like the moisture held in the soil, so mulch does both for us. We also like fallen leaves, plant material, and grass clippings.
What are your turn-off?
We hate all poisons. They kill us and they slaughter our food sources. Rototillers are sick, babaric imitations of what we do. They osterize the soil and kill us.
What is the latest book you have read?
The Wormhaven Gardening Book. There is a sequel coming out later - Creation Gardening.