I tipped the pot onto its side and as I dug out the earth I discovered that the lower third was compacted mud and stones (that had originally been put into the bottom of the pot for drainage.). There were also THOUSANDS of worms :) , OK maybe not quite a thousand, but certainly lots. The drainage holes were clogged with mud and clearly no water could run through. Since originally the pot was filled with potting soil, I suspect that "mud" was really worm poo! wow!
I follow Phil the smiling gardener and he has lately been talking about anaerobic microorganisms being just as effective (but different) in the garden as aerobic microorganisms. See his story here On Gardening Australia too they were talking about the anaerobically processed mud in the base of the pond and how it was filled with wonderful nutrients.Who knows, but as I spread the dark goopy wriggling mess around the plants in the garden I hoped it would help them in some way. I often don't know scientifically what I am doing to help the garden, but little bits of odd stuff here and there might bring something to the soil that it is lacking. I throw on seaweed when I find it, compost when it is ready, trace elements when I think about it, mulch all the time. Do you have a "proper" sequence of soil amendments or do you do what I do?
I once again put stones in the base of the pot and filled it with fresh potting soil when re-planting the ponytail palm, but have noticed a trend towards using pieces of polystyrene in the base instead. I know that will make the pots lighter to move around, but I wonder what sort of chemicals will be leaking into the soil. I think I kind of like the idea that there are so many worms in my garden that they have to go searching for other places to hide out in.
I have been meaning to take some worm photos to go with this post, and still haven't got around to it so am posting sans photo for now.