Another title of this post could be, “How to Make a Perfect Worm Proof Barrier.” Sadly, worms really need to be part of the whole composting process. To not invite them is like, not inviting Jack Nicholson to the Oscars. It makes no sense. Worms need to be at the head of the table for the feast, in fact, they are your guest of honor.
In searching the land for composting materials, I was really happy to clean out the barn and add all that old hay. I think it would have been ok to losely layer it on top. Unfortunately it was the second layer after the cardboard. With the winter snow and frozen water it made a perfectly impenetrable mat, a giant bouncer at the end of the red carpet that got his orders wrong. “Sorry sir, you’re not on the list.”
I spent two days digging the muck up, pulling the frozen mush out and retossing the beds. Normally you wouldn’t do this, but they were smelling foul. I think they will be fine in a few weeks.