In vermiculture, if you put organic matter with live weed seeds into your worm farm, do the worms eat the weed seeds? It seems like they would, as seeds tend to be nutritious, and worms are animals, but I don't know.

I don't actually have a worm farm, and I have no plans to get one, but the thought came to me, and I'm curious if this is a viable way to eliminate weed seeds, and how viable it is.

I have used locally sourced worm castings quite a bit, and I rarely see any weeds sprout in it. I don't know if any were supplied to the worms, however.

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Possibly the answer is both yes and no. Worms have a gizzard, a specialized digestion chamber where the muscles are so arranged as to delay the passage of material while physical grinding takes place. Worms ingest both soft organic material and inorganic particles such as sand and grit, and the action in the gizzard is to place soft material side by side with the sharp edges of harder materials and just mill it around for a while to let the hard wear down the soft and allow digestive juices to work on the exposed tissues. The result will be quicker and more complete grinding when the soft is really soft and the hard has really sharp edges.

An example of really soft would be say lettuce leaves and the hard would be any of the sharp sands or stone grit. Seeds are highly variable, some of course too large to even pass into a worm, particularly the smaller varieties of worms frequently found in worm farms. It comes down to how hard the exterior surface of the seed is, how long the material stays in the gizzard, and the type of grinding paste used - that is the hardness of the grit. I won't address the issue of worms with teeth; I'm just not expert enough to offer anything reliable.

There are many worms in my garden but it is quite amazing how many amaranthus seeds, quite small enough to pass into a worm, also manage to pass out to germinate profusely the next year. For grass seeds, the pieces of root are far more of an issue than seeds.

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