I went yesterday to the Seattle Tilth office, to buy redworms. Yes, worms. I am starting a vermicomposting bin, and am uber-excited about it. I was going to order them online, but then discovered that the 'Tilth sells them for $15 / 8 oz in a "to-go" container (seriously). I had to track people down to get into their office yesterday, but it was well worth it. I tore up some newspaper bedding for them, dumped the little guys in, and was pleased to discover that they aren't that gross to handle (just cool-feeling, not slimy or anything). I did forget to water the bin yesterday, so this morning I ran out and poured some water in there to moisten the newspapers. I have about a cabbage heads' worth of vegetable matter in there, starting to rot, and so far it looks like the worms are doing well.
I thought you could feed them whenever (like a normal hot-bin), but it turns out that disturbs them, so the lady at the Tilth recommended I keep my veggie matter in a Tupperware in the fridge (to discourage fruit flies) and drop it in once a week, and rotate where I put it (the "hole" method of feeding them.) The alternative is to layer it over the top (evenly) and put newspaper over that, but I'll figure it out.
You can see a few of the critters in this picture, on top of the newspapers. I buried them, because they don't like light so much, and was pleased to see them cruising around this morning. A few tenacious ones had stuck to the top of the bin above it and fell off when I removed the lid.
I am using a "Can O' Worms" composter. It is three sifting trays that sit atop each other, plus a lower tray that catches liquid compost-tea (with a handy spout) and a lid on top. The theory is that you fill up the bottom tray, then work your way up and the worms should follow the food, while the liquids drain down and provide a nice liquid fertilizer for plants.
I am very excited about this because the composter is compact and sits in a corner of my deck, and should produce faster than normal compost piles (cuz of the worms). Yay!