Because the beds are filled with so much organic material, they shrank down by several inches throughout the season last year. In the fall, I topped them off with leaves, hay, pine needles and some horse manure. After Thanksgiving, I picked up about 10 squash & pumpkins from someone who had used them as decorations. I had recently added many to the compost pile, so I decided to chop these open and bury them under the new mulch layer for the worms. Seems the worms like them (this is a chunk of squash they're on).
I have also been finding worms under the wood mulch in the pathways. Portions of the path had landscape fabric (some scraps I had) under the mulch. When I had to pull up some of the fabric to add the new beds, I discovered quite a number of worms stuck in the fabric. I few of them seemed to be wound up in the fibers and I also found several that were dead. I'm removing the rest of the fabric because of this. I want the worms to be able to travel between areas and be able to move up and down between the ground and the mulch. The worms seem to live near the surface and I want to help them survive.
I'm quite excited about the worm population. When I dug into the ground to level the beds and break up the top layer of soil last year, I think I may have found about 3 worms (maybe). Last year's load of manure came with a good supply of my little pals. Conditions must be favorable for them in there because they do seem to have multiplied! I'm starting to think of my garden as a giant worm bin. They eat the organic material and leave worm castings to fertilize my plants. It seems to me, if I keep them happy and well fed, they'll keep my plants happy and well fed, like a self-fertilizing garden!