The Earth Moved

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

I read a delightful book this week by Amy Stuart called The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms.

Here is a short synopsis from

No less a scientist than Charles Darwin wrote one of his most popular books on how earthworms were responsible for creating the rich uppermost layer of soil, and garden columnist Stewart’s equal fascination for this spineless, subterranean earth mover (and ingestor) shines through in the chatty text. She explains the differences between red worms that thrive in compost piles and worm bins, nightcrawlers that dig their deep burrows in the soil, and gray worms that live around plant roots. She examines the work of scientists as they discover new species of earthworms, looks at the role of earthworms in soil ecology, dissects the anatomy and taxonomy of the world’s earthworms, and discusses the interactions of human and worm. The importance of earthworms to the organic farmer and backyard gardener is one of Stewart’s key points. This quirky book will find a niche in all gardening and natural-history collections.

Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association

Long have I been loving earthworms and often am I to be found with my head in the wormery. Amy Stuart’s book taught me plenty about earthworms and I can thoroughly recommend it. My favourite bit of the book is a paragraph that i’m going to paraphrase horribly, but essentially the author finds it amusing that mankind has spent millenia staring at the sky for answers about creation, when they need look no further than the soil beneath their feet.

When I was a kid there was this snotty adolescent called Ethan who lived across the street who would spend his weekends mixing concrete with the express purpose of burying worms in it so he could watch them die as the concrete set. It broke my heart. I’d go collect the desiccated worms and give them a proper burial in the stream. Seriously, I can’t walk past a worm on a pavement without picking it up and finding some soft earth for it. Love ’em 🙂 Thank you worms.


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