Can nightcrawlers help to integrate compost into compacted soil?

by KAB
(Sonora, CA)

I am looking to add a layer of compost over hard compacted sand and clay soils and then use nightcrawlers to integrate the compost into the hardpan. Anyone have experience with this?

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Oct 15, 2016
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Re nightcralwlers help to integrate compost into compacted soil
by: Stephan

Hi KAB,

it is well worth trying to use night crawlers (Eisenia hortensis) or red wrigglers (Eisenia fetida) to revitalize dead compacted soil. You should keep in mind that those two worm species are epigeic worms that live mostly in the top 30cm / 12 inches of soil and will not penetrate the soil deeper than that. However they can be the forerunners for a lot of other worms, beneficial insects and microorganisms that live in harmony with compost worms.

In order to assist the worms and help them doing their job you should use a spade or manure fork to loosen the compacted soil and work the compost in a little before you add the worms. It is as well important to always keep the soil moist and never let it go completely without organic matter (worm food) to encourage the worms to stay.

If you can keep the worms protected from extreme temperatures and predators they should slowly work, aerate and fertilize the soil again.

I wish you all the best for your project. Please let me know if you made any progress.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of www.worm-composting-help.com

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