Re: Earthworms & CPs

From: Michael Vanecek (
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 14:09:20 PST

Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 16:09:20 -0600
From: Michael Vanecek <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg4022$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Earthworms & CPs

Earthworm castings are considered the best fertilizer/compost you can
give a plant. Since there are no salts involve that you find in regular
fertilizers and since all the nutrients are enzyme and microbe produced,
there's nothing more natural and balanced for the general plant. Even
peat, which on it's own is fairly poor in nutrients will upon digestion
produce a rich soil. Earthworms do not feast on live roots or live plant
matter - they depend on the bacteria in the decaying matter to aid in
digestion and roots being living matter and healthy are not ideal
sources of food for these critters. It's castings are fairly nuetral on
the acid scale, so it shouldn't change your pH one way or the other. The
earthworm you found is probably a redworm - they live in compost piles
and organic refuse and are the fave for vermicomposters. Dewworms prefer
deep soil. Redworms are voracious eaters and will consume all decaying
plant matter, including dead spagnum moss. In nature, you probably don't
find too many of these guys in the environment that most CP's grow -
they like things damp, but not soaked. However, CP's should tolerate a
minimal intrusion of earthworms just fine. If conditions arise where a
colony of earthworms builds, then your compost may be too dry or too
dead. Since earthworms are unnecessary for the growth of CP's and you
found only one, removing it and placing it in a damp pile of leaves or
your compost pile would be an easy solution. Keep an eye out for an egg
case - it looks like a chubby, yellow grain of rice. If you find
one/some, remove them and transport them to your compost heap or pile of
leaves too. A nepenthes should be able to tolerate earthworms fine since
they grow in orchard compost and the worms would keep the roots clear of
decaying detritus. Plants growing in pure spagnum are generally at or
just a few inches above the water-table and such conditions wouldn't be
conductive to earth worms since they are not aquatic. As a whole, be
happy it was an earthworm you found and not our famous weevil larvea...
:) You could always let it finish off the dead peat and when you repot
the CP into fresh peat you could put the earthworm castings in your
potted plants. For more info on these guys do a search on the word
vermicompost or redworms.

John Green wrote:
> Ron Sbragia wrote:
> >Underneath the pot were dozens of worm castings, and among
> >them was a small earthworm. Earthworms are beneficial to most
> >plants but maybe not to CPs, since their castings are rich in
> >nutrients.
> >Has anyone here found earthworms in their CPs? Did the plant
> >seem stunted? Should I repot?
> If peat is poor in nutrients, wouldn't that also make the worm castings
> poor in nutrients? If that's the case, I'd think that either the worms
> are breaking down the soil much faster than normal, or they are somehow
> eating a lot of the very smallest roots, either of which might cause the
> plant to deteriorate. I've seen worms in my CPs a couple of times with
> different results. I now grow most of my plants together in large
> window-box type pots about 2 to 3 feet long and in such a large
> container the worms don't seem to do any harm. But I have lost a plant
> potted individually, although I don't know if it was the worm that
> killed it or my ignorance.
> John Green
> Salt Lake City, Utah

Mike <-------------------------------------------------> "My zeal to start using Linux is stronger than my fear of looking like a dummy." --Some Wise Man <-------------------------------------------------> Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fishburger and I realize, Oh my God....I could be eating a slow learner.

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