My Sempervivum Blog forum: The Worm Challenge

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Sep 6, 2015 11:38 AM CST
Name: Chris
Wisconsin z4
We have lots of nightcrawlers here in Wisconsin. And we’re talking B-I-G, as in the diameter of my pointer finger! They generally co-exist with my semps very well. However, when I plant new semps in the ground, particularly the smaller varieties, the nightcrawlers become my enemy. Since I amend my garden soil with leaf or mushroom compost and chicken grit, the soil in my semp gardens does not compact as much as the soil in my other gardens. Apparently this provides the perfect playground for worms, especially after a nice rain. It’s a constant battle to get new plants to root as the worms come up out of the ground under the semp plants pushing them out of the soil. And if that isn’t bad enough, they also do another very strange thing. They “herd” my small semps into piles. Yup, that’s right. I must have cowboy worms. They shove little piles of semps up against the larger rocks in my semp gardens. It doesn’t damage them, just drives me nuts! I know they do it. I’ve watched them with a flashlight.

About the only way I know to prevent this is to pin my semps down with some type of wire. For smaller plants I straighten out large paper clips, then form them into a “C” shape over the semps. It’s also helpful to shove a couple extra straightened paper clips into the ground around the plants, otherwise the worms just avoid the two ends from the “C”. Works great if you only have a few plants. But I’m in the process of expanding my semp garden and am planting lots of new little semps in it. So I have my work cut out for me over the next few weeks until the semps start to root in.

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