Soil health is so important to creating a vibrant, healthy garden. It is the key to nutritious vegetables, long-lived trees and beautiful, colorful flowers! Many important microbes and organisms contribute to soil health. These organisms are often interlinked, creating a network of soil helpers in your garden. Today, we are going to focus on one helpful organism: the Nematode.
What is a Nematode?
There are many different species of nematode. Some can be harmful to gardens but we are going to focus on beneficial nematodes that will help increase plant health. Beneficial Nematodes are microscopic non-segmented roundworms that are found naturally in most soils all over the world.
How can they help my Garden?
Beneficial nematodes are voracious carnivores. They will eat thousands of grubs, fleas, gnats, fungi and many different types of larvae in and around your soil. They release toxic bacteria from their digestive tract that kills pests and then both the bacteria and the nematodes feed. They are a gardener’s active defense against insect and disease invasion and make a wonderful organic pest control. Beneficial nematodes also unlock otherwise unavailable nutrients in the soil as a result of their feeding. This process helps increase nutrient availability to plants, improving plant health and nutrition density.
How do I get them in my Garden?
Beneficial nematodes are available for purchase at Evergreen Nursery. We have them available regularly, during the season, for ants, for $19.99. They are often found naturally in soils in small populations. You can encourage their growth and presence by providing food for them in the form of beneficial bacteria and fungi (found naturally in compost and other forms of organic matter).