|Worm dirt from the 1000 Islands Bait Store in Alexandria Bay, N.Y.|
Worms are more than fish bait! They help water flow through soil, break down organic matter into plant food, and excrete castings that are like fertilizers on steroids. They turn soil over better than any rototiller and are one of the coolest organisms around. Worm- and castings-rich soil is considered "Black Gold" among green thumbs and compost enthusiasts.
You can buy worm castings online or at specialty gardening stores, or you can do like us a pay your local bait shop a visit. The stuff you get from bait stores is a little rougher around the edges (you can see chunks of cornmeal in the dirt, for example), but it's also cheaper and local. Weigh your options!
The 1000 Islands Bait Store in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., sells nice-size bags of worm dirt for $3.50/bag, which is slightly cheaper than what you'd pay for a bag of soil that's not chock-full of awesome little worms. It took about four bags to fill each of the raised herb beds at the farm. The rest will be sprinkled in and around our seedlings when we transplant them outside.