I was wondering is it would be helpful to add worms to my vegetable garden when I start it?
Only if you get the right species and provide a proper habitat for them. If you get adequate levels of organic matter in your soil the worms will come without your purchasing any. If you do not get adequate levels of organic matter in your soil those your purchase will leave, or die, due to a lack of food.
As kimmsr noted above, there are different species. Earthworms live in different environments than composting worms. Also the type of garden you have would also factor in. I would suggest you google worm towers for more information. I didn't have any extra soil when I built my raised beds so they were started with 100% compost. I have found that it has attracted earthworms from below. But I also installed worm towers and the red wigglers I seeded it with are thriving in the upper levels.
Just add leaves, and dig them in. The worms will add themselves.
we have used composting worms in our gardens, red wrigglers i think, SA night crawler do just that crawl away. we find composting worms hang around better than local worms, so very good for converting our scraps which go direct to garden.
the way things look here now we may have to buy some composting worms, the local ones aren't doing the population thing properly.
bought our last worms 10 years or so ago, and they piggy backed to new address 6 years ago, but none piggy backed this time, last garden must have been worm heaven?
Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page
When I began to garden in the hard clay of this coniferous forest 16 years ago there was not one worm apparent. However we did 'inadvertently' add worms as friends gave me plants which had garden worms in the soil and DH dumped his extra fishing bait worms in the garden. These were earthworms that local kids had dug from their gardens. As I amended the soil there was enough for the worms to eat and multiply. Now I continue to 'feed' the worms by occasionally digging in kitchen scraps between my plants and making compost to use as mulch and have lots and lots of worms. Every spring if I turn over my stepping stones I find worm nurseries!
While I agree that worms 'may' come if you amend your soil I've heard that not all well-amended soils have earthworms. So if you have a friend who has good soil with worms you might ask for some but make sure you 'feed' them so they live and multiply!
If you build it, they will come.
As Other mentioned you need a habitat for them.. Nothing brings worms like a nice thick layer of mulch!
If you like worms, and enjoy fishing, why not a two for one? Make vermicompost inside, and use the excess worms for fishing?
Most of the worms sold as bait are the Red Wigglers which need a lot of organic matter to live on and is why they are used in vermicomposting. They do not do very well in even good healthy soils, with about 6 to 8 percent organic matter, because that is not enough for them do live on.
For many people a worm is a worm, but there is are many species of worms and many have special duties to perform while other species are more general.
Here is a link that might be useful: About Red Wigglers
You have already gotten so much good advice. I am not adding anything new. Adding and mulching with organic material will get the ball rolling.
The vermi-composting suggestion is a great idea as well. It has been the route I followed and is working great.
As Karen said: If you build it, they will come.
Sometimes I mulch with lawn cuttings in the rose garden, and I see an explosion in earthworms. How do I know? Because the nighttime critters (raccoons, skunks) dig up the roses and watering system to get to them. So it's good and bad to get all those earthworms.
I'm pretty sure the traditional composting "red" worm eisenia fetidia or something like that won't work well in soil as they typically live in leaf litter. It's best to promote whatever type worm you have naturally in your area. Don't waste money buying them unless you are going fishing.
I am way up in zone 4, very rocky soil. I have had no worms at all in my soil. Last year, after 3 years of working on the soil, and bringing some in, I found my first worms!
Question: if there are no worms around, where would they come from?
"Question: if there are no worms around, where would they come from? ",
Very good question Sunraya! Many people think that good garden worms are indigenous to every area but it's not so. There are many types of worms and the type I *think* I have here is is known as the Common European Earthworm which tells where this worm originated. It's from the Lumbricidae family of worms and has been naturalized in many places on earth. Many of the early settlers in North America came from Europe and bought plants with them to their new home and the earthworms hitchhiked in the soil of those plants.
I know it took a couple of years of amending the soil here before I saw earthworms and I know there were some in the soil of some of the plants I was given by friends. And around here the only worms my DH used to buy on the way to his favorite fishing lake were garden variety earthworms dug and sold by the local kids. Once we had sufficient worms in the garden he would just dig for them.
Apparently the area I live in had no native earthworms prior to the introduction of this type of worm. It is believed that these worms can have a negative impact on forest ecosystems altho that cannot be a concern of mine. I know they are beneficial to my garden.
So I know one can 'import' worms but if they are to survive and multiply it's essential to feed them.
If you are considering moving some compost worms from your vermi bin to the garden, I gather the important factors are your climate and the type of composting worms you have. From my reading of "Worms Eat My Garbage", I think Mary mentioned five or six types of composting worms. Some seemed to work better than others outdoors.
Do you know which type you have?
I don't know which type of worms I have. I haven't dug in my garden yet. After reading all of the reply's i think the best approach would be to let nature supply worms to the garden