After 3 weeks away I've returned to find everything fine. Which is nice. A little slow perhaps, but nothing disappeared or died.
The soldiers are eating and seem to be doing well, though I'm really puzzled by the small number of pupas I'm able to harvest. It seems that I have loads of 'gusanos' in all stages of development, I have adult flies showing interest and I have a good food source and, I believe, set up. Yet I'm harvesting hardly any mature grubs. There's a wonderful Black Soldier Fly forum and I posted my issue on there, the suggestions to wet the bin and to protect against possible nocturnal predators are good ones, and I'll try them. However I see no sign of predation, and the distance between food and exit is all of about 4 inches, so I don't think it's that they can't exit. Still, we shall see. At this time I really expected to see more harvestable 'food' for the birds.
The spinach and fodder plants are coming on. We've had a lot of rain and little sun the last 3 weeks, so it's slow. Slower than I had expected, for sure. I need to up the mulching and feeding. It always surprises me that here in the tropics, even with a year round, day round growing 'season', that things take time to establish. It may be that I've been away from active gardening too long and I've lost touch with the slower rhythms.
The azolla and duckweed are doing well and threaten to overtake the deck. I'm waiting for the coop to be done to start planning a tank in that area. There is a risk of other beings enjoying the plants before the birds can: I could lessen the risk by raising the tank, but that means more infrastructure and complexity. Simple must be better. Perhaps the answer is a larger tank to allow for some loss. Or several tanks. I've seen gorgeous looking tanks from the Philippines for feeding pigs . . .
This is from www.balogo.wordpress.com, a great little blog on natural farming.
I realise that I'm going to have to start with some commercial feed for the birds: my project is not yet sustainable. I'm researching fermenting the feed or making a bokashi feed. This sounds really interesting, though it involves a lot of preparation to begin. Perhaps I can transition into it as I transition out of it :) Or maybe I can use whole grains in place of commercial feed. I'd still have to buy it and ideally I would be using what we grow here. Grains are an issue. I wonder if I could use green banana or yuca or taro instead. More research need. Always more research!