Worm Composting Program
The City is excited to offer a worm composter program for residents who don’t have a backyard. The program includes an instructional workshop (required before purchase) along with the sale of a kit. Kits include a bin (~14.4 US gallons), tray, lid, worms, garden fork, bedding and guidebook –all for the subsidized price of $35.00. The workshop will be run in the spring each year. You will be able to register through our Happening Guide when the program becomes available.
For more information about the City’s worm composter program, please contact Contact Environmental Services at 604.469.4572 or email us.
Worm Composting Tips
- Fresh Bedding! Brown Layer
Bedding helps to prevent odour, minimize fruit fly infestation, ensures you don't inhale mold when you open your bin and converts to carbon which is an important component of good compost. When feeding
your worms, keep an eye on the amount of bedding on top of the food. Ifthere is less than 2 inches of bedding, replenish with some dry deciduous tree leaves such as cherry, birch, oak or maple. Do not use
leaves from the Black Walnut tree as these have a chemical that inhibit growth. Ensure you add some water to moisten the dry leaves.
If your supply of dry leaves starts to diminish, you can mix in some shredded newspaper to stretch them out until you collect more leaves in the Fall. Although the dry leaves are best, if you really do not want
to collect leaves, you can also use coir which is made from the "coir pith" of coconut husk. The most common brand is "CocoEarth". It can be purchased from most garden stores for about $3 or $4 and
comes in a brick. Follow directions on package for use.
- Soil/Play Sand
If you notice the worms don't seem to be eating the food (assuming you are not over-feeding your bin), they may need more grit. You can mix a small handful of soil or play sand into your food each time you
feed your worms. Do not use (I) beach sand as it has salt, which is harmful to the worms or (2) new potting soil from a bag as it will not have any ofthe needed bacterial fungi. Soil from an old potted
plant or outdoor garden bed is best.
- Food Waste/ Green Layer
Always place your food/green waste underneath bedding.
- raw fruit & vegetable scraps, coffee grinds (and filters) and tea bags, egg shells, hair
- if you have large quantities offoods with a high acid content (such as citrus peels or coffee grinds), it can hurt the worms' sensitive skin; neutralize the acid by sprinkling with dolomite
lime (very inexpensive from garden stores) before adding to the bin
- paper (cut into small strips! pieces): newsprint, wax paper, copy paper, brown paper bags etc.
- cooked food, grains (including bread or pasta), meat, dairy, feces
- paper: glossy magazine paper, credit card! bank card receipts
Worms benefit from the calcium, as they need it for reproduction! cocoons. If you eat eggs, keep your eggshells in a separate container. When ready to feed your worms, crush the shells into tiny pieces and
mix into your food. This will allow faster decomposition so the worms can ingest and benefit from the calcium (needed for reproduction). If you don't eat eggs, many other foods have calcium so as long as
the food you're giving the worms is varied, they will be fine. Also, if you want to multiply your worm population quickly, dolomite lime is a calcium supplement.
- Feeding Box
You may want to create a small bag! box for your "composting supplies" each time you feed your worms. You can place your bag of leaves, soil! sand, container of eggshells, watering can, turkey baster
etc. so it's quick & easy to get everything together when you're ready to feed the worms.
- Fruit Fly Recipe
Use the following method as a preventative method if you have an infestation of fruit flies in your bin and/or in your apartment.
In a small plastic container, combine the following ingredients:
112 cup of fruit juice
2 drops of vinegar
2 drops of liquid dish soap
Sit the container on top of the bedding inside your worm bin. The fruit flies will lay eggs in the solution and the detergent will kill them. Renew the solution as needed. The flies also love any sweet alcohol
such as port. You don't need to add anything to it; just place a small amount in a container and place on counter or on top of bedding in the bin.
• Quick Harvest Method
When your bin is anywhere from half to two-thirds full, you should harvest the compost from your bin.
- Don't feed your worms for 3 weeks.
- On the 4th week, place food waste in one half of the bin and cover with bedding, as usual.
- Wait 2 to 3 weeks. This will allow enough time for most of the worms to migrate to the side of the bin with the food waste.
- In 3rd or 4th week after feeding the bin, harvest the compost from the side of the bin with no food waste:
- scoop out compost and place in a plastic bag with twist-tie or any other sealed container and use as needed
- there will still be some straggling worms and worm eggs in the compost but they will eventually die & turn into nitrogen - they will not harm any growing/live plants when you use the compost
- if you wish to remove any straggling worms from the compost before storing, simply scoop out compost and place in a wide container such as bucket or on a plastic tarp
- place under bright light or in the sunshine
- after about 10 minutes, scoop off the first 2 inches of compost and place in a bag
- repeat until you are at the bottom of your pile
- the worms will be at the bottom of the pile and you can return them to your bin