The home experiment continues. I've been through a few full rotations of the bin, and have gathered in the vicinity of 30lbs of good potting soil after its left my kitchen and gone through the worms.
Some basic observations:
1) Brown paper is probably better for 'ecosystem'. Although I use any non-glossy paper without a lot of colored ink on it. When I was first reading the formulas I found called for nearly 50% leaves or paper, and I thought this surely must be an over estimate. It is not. Use more paper.
2) Aerate. Worms are lazy, about once a week turn the compost and make them find a new home. This also has the effect of mixing things all up which is good for the resultant soil. If you are using a drawer system, like me, you'll want to be careful about only filling the drawers about 2/3 full, or else this step gets difficult.
3) Packing Peanuts. If you get the kind that melt in water, these are just corn starch. Cheese doodles without the cheese. Throw them on in, just do it in stages, as too much freaks the works out.
4) Fruit Flies. My nemesis. This is the most difficult part about doing this indoors, and i am still developing a solution. Fruit flies are tiny bugs that can reproduce in batches of around 400. They have a lifespan on 30 days, unless I get at them. Easily a hundred can fit in an area the size of a bottle cap.
I would be perfectly content co-habitating with several thousand. But these guys take it too far, and must be stopped. I have Made some traps, and they work great, but not enough. I have the fly paper and it works, but not enough.
Then I got to thinking, plenty of things do this in nature. Spiders, lizards, frogs - all viable in my back room. But what I really need (thaks Elley!) is a Nepenthes.
The Tropical Pitcher Plant thrives on insects like all carnivorous plants, however it has been reported that some larger Nepenthes pitchers contain the remnants of small reptiles, birds and an occasional monkey in their native jungle habitats! These carnivorous plants are well suited to year round growing in your own home or greenhouse.
As long as my garden doesn't eat my cat - that is the plan.
5) Leave it alone. The more you forget about it and just leave it be, the better something like this fits into your lifestyle.
Oh yeah, and I went to DrupalCon, presented there, barcamp is this weekend, DrupalCamp is the last weekend in March, I started the second round of homebrew, and I might be starting a BedStuy Food Buyer's group.