2.1 Earthworm Count

Earthworms are an indicator of biological life in the soil, large and small. Easily visible and easy to count, higher numbers are often an indicator of improved soil health. It is best to count earthworms in early Autumn or late Spring.

Avoid carrying-out during extreme weather conditions eg: very dry, hot or cold, or in the following few weeks after a manure/compost application.

Want to learn to identify the 3 different types of earthworms? Here you can learn about the 3 types, why counting different types is important and take the brilliant quiz from soil scientist Jackie Stroud.

What to record

Record earthworm count

Make notes: Anything interesting you’ve noticed!

Photos

Equipment

A smartphone (with Sectormentor downloaded)

Spade

Bin bag / tray

How to do the test

1. Head to the sample block / area you want to test, and dig out a 20cm deep square as wide as your spade (aiming for a 20 x 20 x 20cm hole – but consistency is the main thing).

2. Place the dug up soil on your bag / tray.

3. Break down the soil with your hands, and keep any earthworms you find in the bag. Replace soil in the hole you’ve dug.

4. Count the number of earthworms and record in the app, remembering to click ‘Sync’ when you’ve finished with your phone.

5. If you’d like to go deeper, you can count the number of different types of worms and record this in the ‘notes’ section of Sectormentor. Remember to put the worms back in the soil when you’re done!