Worm is turning in garden
EXCUSE me for getting excited but I have just been told that 2015 is the International Year of Soils.
Stop smirking, soil is very important to the environment and our wellbeing. And it’s a bit more exciting than previous United Nations designations – Year of Quinoa 2013, and Year of the Potato 2008. Stand by for 2016 when we have an International Year of Pulses, which will really get your blood racing!
Some of the better years have included 2009’s Year of the Gorilla. Hopefully events during all these years will have helped to raise awareness of the sorry state of our environment.
The International Year of Soils aims to raise awareness among the public and the decision makers about the profound importance of soil. Education helps in land management, to ensure soils remain able to provide healthy food throughout the world.
Members of the wonderful Earthworm Society of Britain are particularly pleased about this year’s focus, as worms are vital for enriching soil quality. They eat organic waste and ‘recycle’ it to make compost.
Worms are your best friend in the garden as they cause no damage to plants but will boost your garden’s soil. And they make tasty meals for birds and some mammals too.
There are 27 different species of worm in the UK, and more than 3,000 globally. Many will be in your garden, and the Earthworm Society of Britain is looking for new members to help with their annual surveys.
The International Year of Soils means these surveys will get a lot more publicity during 2015.
Over the coming weeks as you prepare your garden for spring, see how many types of worm you can spot in your flowerbeds or compost bins. Are they chestnut worms, green worms, octagonal-tailed worms or rosy-tipped ones?
You can get help identifying them at earthwormsoc.org.uk but it will mean picking up a worm or two.
That may horrify some people but there is nothing better than feeling a worm wiggling around in your hand. All right, there are lots of better things, but I like it anyway.
The Earthworm Society of Britain will celebrate the International Year of Soils by running identification courses and encouraging wildlife recorders and gardeners to get involved in worm-spotting.
This will lead to the creation of worm atlases showing the locations of the different kinds.
So it’s a great year to get on your hands and knees and hunt for worms. I am sure you will all be charmed by it.
To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside text WILD09 with the amount you want to donate to 70070. To become a member of the Trust go to the website at www.lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.
For information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
A blackbird perched on a wooden post with a worm