Posts tagged garden worms
Alabama Jumpers are actually an earthworm compared to most other worms many are familiar which are composting worms hence making them a better choice for your garden.
Composting worms usually prefer staying towards the top of the garden beds for several reasons, moisture, food availability… Another reason is many cannot take a harsh bedding such as hard packed clay, sand or even heavy dirt. Remember these are composting worms looking to devour breaking down organic matter and not dirt worms.
Now while the Alabama Jumpers also look for decaying organic matter to chow down on the surface areas, they are an earthworm which can burrow down up to 12 feet or so. They can and in fact prefer packed hard clay, packed dirt and even sandy soils to live in.
Since the compost worms basically stay towards the surface, the Alabama Jumpers also perform additional tasks to help your flowers, vegetable gardens and lawn areas grow. As they dig down deep, they leave open burrows which help to aerate the soil, allow for better water penetration through them and help promote better root growth for your plants by allowing roots to access and easily flourish throughout the burrow system.
At the same time many composting worms will not survive colder winter temperatures throughout the continental USA. On the other hand, Alabama Jumpers utilize two techniques to survive cold temperatures. In moderately cold areas they may simply burrow down to warmer soils several feet. In the colder climates the Alabama Jumpers coil up into a slime covered ball which they produce and go into a sleep like state, similar to hibernation.
Introducing your worms to the garden should not be a method of scattering them throughout. Rather using the Alabama Jumpers for instance, releasing in clumps of approximately 500 worms in a pile allowing them to dig down. Once they are down it is important to either have some decaying organic matter for them to eat in the immediate vicinity or place some material on top where you just released them. Another good food source to use if needed is Purina Worm Chow by sprinkling a little on top where you released them as needed.
The reasoning behind this method versus scattering them throughout is the fact that the worms need to be able to find each other to breed. If scattered around they will have difficulty doing so leaving you the option of buying new worms each year. By feeding the worm piles you drop into the garden you are keeping a good number of worms around to breed, lay cocoons and later on hatch.
Down the road as they become more populated the worms will begin to spread out and covering more and more territory in your yard or garden areas.
Alabama Jumpers are a unique worm and are a true earthworm. Rather than mainly stay near the surface they dig out tunnels allowing them to burrow down into the ground.
Most composting worms are not made to be let loose outdoors and will eventually die if not placed in the right environment. For instance European nightcrawlers can survive throughout the United States in garden areas that have a lot of organic material on the surface such as damp layers of leaves for them to go through without having to burrow down deep into hard packed soils.
This is why many people do not see any or only a few worms the following year when released in the yard, vegetable and flower garden areas.
The Alabama Jumper on the other hand can burrow down deep and the harder packed the soil, clay or sandy materials are the better. They can tolerate these harsher conditions due to a tougher outer layer of skin encompassing the worm. This helps them to survive year after year.
The other difference comparing most composting worms to the Alabama Jumper and other earthworms is their ability to burrow down deep to escape the extreme colder surface temperatures and taking advantage of the naturally warmer temperatures a few feet below.
The other method earthworms can use is called estivation, where they coil up into a slime covered ball which they produce and go into a sleep like state, similar to hibernation. Most composting worms such as the red wiggler or nightcrawlers cannot estivate but rather die when it gets too cold.
Of course as with any type of worm the environment needs to be correct, however the Alabama Jumper has proved to be probably one of the most if not the number one worm able to adapt too many conditions. Originating in the tropics of some Asian countries and adapting all the way up to northern New England within the United States that we have found thus far.
The Alabama Jumper aerates plant root systems by generating these burrows which they constantly travel up and down through. As with any other worm, they leave their trail of worm castings further enhancing any type of soil condition.
Previously thought to come up to eat during the evening hours and hunker down below ground during the daytime has been found to be untrue.
In circumstances where one may have mulch or other organic matter in the yard or garden areas which remain damp or heavily shaded areas, the Alabama Jumper worm will eat almost continuously.
In fact, in test bins I set up in controlled environments which were covered so as not to allow any light to penetrate over the past month, I found the Alabama Jumpers constantly eating at all hours of the day. With just 300 worms in each worm bin, I ended up feeding them half a cup of food per day or equivalent to approximately a one gallon container of food per 300 worms over one month’s time.
I ran this experiment only after examining the Alabama Jumpers outside under some pine trees. The Alabama Jumpers would be active all day long in the shade as long as the pine needles on the ground were damp to wet. Once the pine needles were permitted to dry out, the worms would burrow below the surface and come back up only at night once the sun set.
So if you are looking for the perfect worm to release outside in the yard and garden areas to assist in aeration and soil enhancement, the Alabama Jumper is what you want.
Alabama Jumpers are known for their fast wriggling action which enables them to jump.
In reality they coil up and wriggle to the point the Alabama Jumper becomes a loaded spring which releases suddenly, hence enabling them to jump.
To give you an idea of the Alabama Jumpers ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound I decided to put together this amusing little video.
These worms are excellent for garden and flower bed areas where the soil consists mainly of hard packed clay or sand. Alabama Jumpers also make an excellent fishing worm not only for their great wiggling activity but also their longevity in the water on a hook!