In the past few months, I've been finding lots of little smooth lumps of dirt on the lawn and especially on the bottom edges of the raised beds. In an effort to keep things tidy, I would constantly pick them up and throw them at the base of plants but the stuff keeps coming back. In some places it heaps right up within a week.
I was pretty sure they were the excavation debris of earthworms, I thought they took a wrong turn tunnelling up through the gravel. But it wasn't until I started reading Teaming with Microbes (good book, Elaine) that I realised what these really are.
In other words, black gold to a gardener. From now on, I'll be collecting them. :)
Thought I'd share this bit of info with others who are as ignorant as I was about what worm castings look like. I always thought worms left their term deposits below the ground, but it makes sense, like all good animals (chooks excepted), they don't poo in their bedrooms.
Spot on, Joseph! I used to see those little heaps under the dog droppings and figured they were from dung beetles - we had those, little native ones I suspect. But more likely, worms. I used to find if I didn't pick up after the dogs soon enough, there were undermined areas where the dropping sat on the surface. I see now that the worms were busy. I've bought that book now, got it from Booktopia way cheaper than anywhere else.
Now that is garden richness!
Self-fertilising garden ... similar to the fertilising effect of having the right micro-organisms working for you.
Do you notice something with the 2nd photo, Andy? Either the worm's tunnelling backwards or it's pooping through its mouth.
That'll happen when you are a photographer not a gardener. They take a slice, shove the worm back in and then add a sheet of glass in front.
Ah, I forgot the worm's not really worm in this instance, but an actor.
I won't tramautise you by saying they would have killed him so that he couldn't move.
Let's just pretend that they cut away, took the shot and put the dirt back... nothing to see here... just move along!
They must have been professional hitmen, I see no marks on the body. :)
They probably gassed him mate. Squashed worms don't photograph all that prettily.
Nature doing it's thing without us interfering. Good info Joseph, thank you.
Not exactly a cup of popcorn chicken. :)
Interestingly, the deposits on the lawn are only found in the area where I regularly do my potting and transplanting. The worms must be attracted to the runoff from the fish emulsion and seaweed solutions I douse new transplants with. If you look close enough at the photo, there's a small dark patch to the right of the cup where I scrapped up the casts.
How best should I employ these vermicasts?
I wonder if it would be worth adding it to the same amount of water to make a "tea?"