Gardening: attracting earthworms

Self-tutoring about gardening: the tutor shares a story.

Many years ago I was aerating the lawn with a hand tool when a man approached me from where he was parked across the street.

“Hello…what are you doing?” he asked.

“Aerating the lawn.”

It turned out he’d been in the lawn business, and proceeded to give me some tips. “You feed the soil, not the grass,” he advised. Then, he crossed the street and drove away, not to return.

Not uncommonly, strangers approach me, introduce themselves, and tell a story. I listen as carefully as I can; such encounters have taught me much. The man’s comment “feed the soil” I’d read before.

Late last May I planted some seeds. While a few sunflowers grew, I harvested nothing from the garden. One reason I decided: the soil just wasn’t prepared. In the fall I raked the yard of oak leaves, then mixed them into the garden soil (read about that here).

Back then, I noticed that one patch – the one in the lawn – had plentiful earthworms, while the raised one had almost none. I wondered at the difference. I knew that, to give the raised plot a chance to be successful, worms had to populate it. Would they find the leaves I mixed into it? The leaves were many: I mixed them thickly in the soil, hoping for the best.

Maybe a week ago, I went out to begin this year’s yard work in earnest. I dug into the soil of the raised bed, hoping to find earthworms. Indeed, they’ve found the leaves and migrated there to partake of them.

Mixing the leaves in the soil back in late October seemed an optimistic activity. However, taking that man’s serendipitous advice from so many years ago, I was “feeding the soil.”

I’m approaching this year’s gardening with cautious optimism.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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