When I moved here 5 years ago (2004), one of the first things I remember wanting to do was go fishing. It had been years (20 in fact) since I went fishing. I used to do it almost every day during fishing season when I was a kid. Anyway, I took a shovel, went out to the back yard and starting digging. Lo and behold, not a single worm to be found! I searched low, and lower, digging little holes all over the property. I found absolutely not one little worm. I was devastated! No fishing for me. And, I knew that any thoughts of gardening was going to be pretty much a failure.
Worms are our best friends because they are like little tiny tillers/composters. They eat the soil and vegetable debris and when they are done, it is like the black gold you get in your composter. Plus they help aerate your soil for you, mixing things around. To have worms in your soil means you have a healthy environment. Thus, lacking those little guys indicated there is indeed something hostile about it, and you need to find out the reason why. Most especially if you are planning on gardening (flowers or vegetables/fruit).
I determined then and there, that while I was planning and plotting out flower beds and a vegetable/fruit garden that I was going to bring back my worms. The first thing I did that summer was to rip out some of the old flowers and shrubs in the flower beds, and put in some bulbs. I dug up and mixed around the soil, added a little compost and decided to wait and see what else grew there. I also dug up a small plot in the back yard and mixed in some compost from the composter. My husband had one that had about 6 inches of black gold in the bottom. Then, I planted some beans (to fix nitrates into the soil) and dusted a little lime in to sweeten it. I also planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and zuchinni. The only thing that did well that year was the zuchinni. Everything else was left to rot and be tilled in the next year.
My husband was doing some landscaping at this time, and built two wire composters to hold the pieces of sod, left over leaves and other minor vegetable debris. He added large pieces of black tarp over the top to help it cure during the heat of the day and make it so that hopefully the next spring we would have some more lovely compost to use in the gardening.
That fall, I added a few leaves and covered it with more soil to set over winter. Maybe in the spring I woud find a worm or two?
This is what the front yard and flower beds looked like that fall.