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  • Finding earthworm middens in the courtyard

    Miranda Hodgson on 24 Jan 2012 at 12:39 PM

    It seemed that as soon as I mentioned the mild winter weather being good for watching the activities of worms, half the country turned white with frost, sending the worms deeper into the soil. Thankfully, it’s warmed up and the worms are active again. After reading some more about earthworm middens, I’ve been out looking for them. Not hard, as I spend much of my day outside, so there isn’t far to go. Sure enough, once you actually start looking, you can see that there are a great many leaves standing upright and half way into the soil, all pulled in by worms. This led me down to the end of the courtyard at home, where there is still a layer of fallen leaves that haven’t been cleared away. I got a rake out and started raking gently to see what was under the leaves. Sure enough, while most the leaves were easy to rake up, small mounds were left that didn’t want to shift.

    These mounds of old leaves were 6-10cm across, pretty much circular and fairly evenly spaced. Pulling at the bits of leaf, I found resistance, as they were partly embedded in the soil under the layer of gravel. Was it a worm midden?

    I carefully pulled away the top layer to see what was underneath. When the ‘cap’ came away, you could see the worm’s tunnel in the middle of it and see where the entrance was blocked up with partially composted leaves.


  • What are the worms up to?

    Miranda Hodgson on 13 Jan 2012 at 02:48 PM

    This mild winter is a good time for looking at the activity of earthworms. The soil is moist and our lawns are a mass of worm casts, a mix of worm excrement and soil. The number of small coiled piles of worm casts tell us that there is indeed a great deal going on under the surface and it’s interesting to think about just what is happening under there. What are they doing?