Keeping earthworms in your raised bed container....

Hello,
I just completed my raised bed containers (4' x 9' x 2') and want to amend the new soil with earthworm castings. I know the earthworms may leave the container if they don't stay happy and content with what's provided. I've heard the use of corn meal (sprinkled on top of the soil) can keep them up near the top.
Does anyone have tips on keeping them fat and happy? Also what is the ratio of earthworms, to say, a square foot of soil. I'm thinking of ordering a 1000 and putting 300 in each of the 3 containers.
Cheers, Ed
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Hi Ed, I assume you have some type of composting worm e.g red wrigglers. These are better for creating castings rather than the standard earthworm or ground crawler.
Composting worms like any type of vegetable peels, tea or coffee grinds, crushed eggshells (for digestion), shredded newspaper,etc. They are particularly partial to banana skins. They tend to steer clear of anything too acidic e.g citrus skins.
Check out the excellent "worms eat my garbage" from the library for more info on keeping these handy critters happy.
Cheers Conor http://www.gardennut.com

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Hey Ed, I have a couple of raised bed containers about the same size as yours that are several years old. They sit on gravel that overlays heavy clay soil. They are full of happy earthworms. I amend the soil with compost every year which seems to provide plenty of nutrition for the worms as well as the plants. I also leave the dead plants in the soil over the winter so their roots and such break down further. Worms are mobile digestive tracts. They just slurp up the soil in front of their mouths and it all runs through and out the other end, minus whatever nutrients the worm needs. They help break down organic matter into plant-ready nutrients.
I've never seen worms trying to escape, but that may be because of the barbed wire & watch towers ;).
Angela

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