Instagrammer Loudette Pavon-Catchillar (@sofarm_sogood) has wormed her way into the gardening hall of fame, thanks to her handy tips on how to get super nutrient-filled soil without digging deep into your wallet.
Across the U.S., farmers use about 21 million tons of fertilizer every year to sustain high crop yields. However, as with most things, it’s important to use them in moderation, as excessive use can kill off essential bacteria and leak nitrogen into our waterways.
On a small level in our vegetable patches, this isn’t as big of an issue, but cutting down our reliance on fertilizers can save money while still helping the environment.
In the production process of artificial fertilizers, polluting gases are released into the atmosphere, contributing to the warming of our planet. These are then transported across the world, which releases even more pollution and makes fertilizer production a fairly dirty industry.
But now there’s no need to panic — Pavon-Catchillar did her digging and came up with a fantastic solution. And the answer is worms. Red wiggler worms, in fact.
“I have black gold all over the garden, thanks to my red wiggler worms pet,” the gardener writes in her caption.
Pavon-Catchillar says she no longer relies on any fertilizer or even a compost pile to reap the natural benefits of decomposing kitchen scraps. Instead, she purchased her worms off the internet before spreading them across her raised gardening beds. The worms multiplied fast and she noticed how healthy they kept her plants and vegetables.
So, how does it work?
Worms have the capacity to eat their own body weight in food every day (we’re jealous, honestly), and when they eat, they break down and recycle organic matter within the soil, releasing vital nutrients that the surrounding plants need to thrive.
Other than helping out the plants, they also are really beneficial to the structure and quality of the soil itself. By wriggling around, the worms mix up the soil and leave space for water to drain away from the surface and redistribute moisture throughout the earth. Their movement also mixes up the microorganisms in the soil which helps keep the soil fresh and healthy.
Some commenters on the viral video were concerned about using worms in varying climates. However, this seems to not have been an issue so far.
“I live in Texas which is known for very hot and humid summers,” explains one Instagram gardener. “Just make sure your soil is always moist to cool them down.”
Not only has this proven popular with current gardeners, but some even saw this as an opportunity to inspire the next generation of green fingers.
“I would love to try this in my garden and even get the kids involved. Thanks for sharing,” writes one user.
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