Archive for the ‘Composters’ Category

Queen’s Park Pre School in New Westminster is definitely doing their bit both for a greener planet and for the young fresh minds in their charge.

The Pre School is full of wonderful 3-4 year olds participating in a diverse range of programs from art, to language, to math and now to worms! Yes, worms! The pre school decided that it was time to stop throwing their snacks and food items into the bin and start a composting program – and they chose worms!

Starting this past April the school set up a worm bin for each of the 4 classes. In the beginning they kept them inside to keep the worms warm. The inside bucket was lined around with bug screen taped to the bottom and around the rim so worms would not escape through the many air holes in the sides. 
The lid for the inside bucket was on tight when indoors, but left ajar when outside, and no worms tried to escape.
At first, the parents were not adding enough paper so it was suggested to add more and decrease the amount of orange peels as well as a bit of water. 

Because the teachers wanted to show the worms again to the children when the food had been transformed, they stopped adding food, and so there is still some paper left.
They plan to repeat this next year, and I think they could do it in the fall and in the spring, as there is a long break for the holidays. If they want to compost all food, a bigger bin will be needed.

This is terrific and I can hardly wait as my soon to turn two year old will be in the pre school in September, a newly hatched three year old ready to paint and play with worms! Brilliant!


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The Doggie Dooley Pet Waste Disposal System works like a miniature septic tank, utilizing natural bacteria and enzyme cultures to reduce dog waste to a ground absorbed liquid.

Simply shovel stools into the system, occasionally add water and the Digester Powder.

Neat, clean, and convenient.

An environmentally friendly way to dispose of pet waste!

Each unit comes with a starter 6 month supply of Digester Powder. The Digester Powder is a non-toxic, harmless mixture designed especially for pet waste.

The systems are harmless to pets, lawns, and shrubs. The Doggie Dooley is an excellent way to dispose of pet waste safely and control odors. Works well in all soil conditions except in areas with hard, non-draining clay soil.

Doggie Dooley, celebrating 40 years!

For more information click here.

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Here is a great resource for children and schools – a site out of Illinois talking all about worms and worm bin composting for kids.

You can learn all about worms and how to compost on this highly educational, fun and rewarding site.

Here are a few highlights but please check it out on your own: Click here to play with Herman!

  • An earthworm can grow only so long. A well-fed adult will depend on what kind of worm it is, how many segments it has, how old it is and how well fed it is. An Lumbricus terrestris will be from 90-300 millimeters long.
  • A worm has no arms, legs or eyes.
  • There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms.
  • Worms live where there is food, moisture, oxygen and a favorable temperature. If they don’t have these things, they go somewhere else.
  • In one acre of land, there can be more than a million earthworms.
  • The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.
  • Worms tunnel deeply in the soil and bring subsoil closer to the surface mixing it with the topsoil. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants. The sticky slime helps to hold clusters of soil particles together in formations called aggregates.
  • Charles Darwin spent 39 years studying earthworms more than 100 years ago.
  • Worms are cold-blooded animals.
  • Earthworms have the ability to replace or replicate lost segments. This ability varies greatly depending on the species of worm you have, the amount of damage to the worm and where it is cut. It may be easy for a worm to replace a lost tail, but may be very difficult or impossible to replace a lost head if things are not just right.
  • Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.
  • The Australian Gippsland Earthworm grows to 12 feet long and can weigh 1-1/2 pounds.
  • Even though worms don’t have eyes, they can sense light, especially at their anterior (front end). They move away from light and will become paralyzed if exposed to light for too long (approximately one hour).
  • If a worm’s skin dries out, it will die.
  • Worms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs. Worms mate by joining their clitella (swollen area near the head of a mature worm) and exchanging sperm. Then each worm forms an egg capsule in its clitellum.
  • Worms can eat their weight each day.

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A backyard solution to your dog waste woes
By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

Vancouver, British Columbia is one of my favorite cities on the planet, having attended Simon Fraser University in the mid 1970s. Located in a glorious water-mountain setting three hours north of Seattle, you can’t find a friendlier city. After landing in the airport, I hopped on a city bus only to discover I didn’t have the correct change.

“No problem,” said the driver. “I’ll take you to the hotel at the next stop where you can buy a cup of coffee and get some change.” When I returned, he refused my thank-you tip and smiled. “Nah, just have a great time while you’re here.”

In downtown Vancouver, it’s easy to find greenery. Rooftop gardens are becoming the norm on office buildings and condominiums, apple trees are planted along sidewalks, and the urban landscapes are so beautifully maintained, they regularly host weddings — all in an urban environment that’s the third mostly densely populated in North America, following New York and San Francisco.

dog waste composterAnd with all those people, you can expect challenges. Take dogs, for example. As with any dog, what goes in, must come out. Yes, we’re talking dog poop, and how to dispose of it.

Mike Levenston at City Farmer, a demonstration garden and compost site run by Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture in Vancouver, B.C. lives in the city and has a dog. I met with Mike at the City Farmer garden, and over a sprout-filled sandwich, we chatted about worm composting and composting dog waste. Gardeners have no fear when it comes to discussing most anything, anytime.

“People obviously love their dogs,” he said, “but it’s a big problem worldwide. You can see people picking up after their dog, and then wondering what do with it.”

After lunch, we strolled over to the fence at the edge of the demonstration garden. I peered down at a green, plastic garbage lid sitting on the ground. It was decorated with pink flowers and a cartoon dog. The words “Dog Waste Composter” encircled the dog.

What About Urine in the Garden?

According to wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, urine is sterile and contains large amounts of urea, an excellent source of nitrogen for plants. Recommended dilution: 10-15 parts water to 1 part urine for application growing season. Urine is also a good source of phosphorus and potassium, and is widely considered as good as or better than commercially-available chemical fertilizers. Urine is also used in composting to increase the nitrogen content of the mulch, accelerating the composting process and increasing its final nutrient values.

“In the city,” Mike said, “Garbage collectors don’t want dog waste to go into the truck because it gets messy and the bags explode. The sewage people don’t want it down the toilet because it has a lot of grit on it and mucks it up. So there’s really nothing environmental that you can do.”

The solution, says Mike, is to compost dog waste in yard, using a old plastic garbage can. The folks at City Farmer developed the method, which is one of the most popular tips on the cityfarmer.org web site. The technique provides “a chance where people can have it slowly decompose in a yard and be environmentally safe.”

Here’s a step-by-step description:

  1. Take and old garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the side.
  2. Cut out the bottom (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
  3. Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the garbage can.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it’s a little higher than the soil level.
  5. Place the lid on top (you might want to paint it with something like Dog Waste Composter.)
  6. When you scoop some poop, put it in the hole and sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.

According to the www.cityfarmer.org web site, “Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, (which is non-caustic and promotes natural bacterial growth) will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily. This waste biodegrades and flows into the subsoil.”

Mike adds that you should not put the composted dog waste in your garden.

While burying a garbage can to compost dog waste might seem like overkill if you live near the woods or close to a patch of blackberry bushes, but when you think about it, why not contain the waste in a more environmentally-friendly manner?

By the way, if you know someone that lives in a city, the www.cityfarmer.org web site is loaded with all kinds of helpful urban agriculture tips.

Discover more tips by Marion Owen.

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This article appeared in The Record May 1, 2010

Green cones will soon be gobbling up organics at 20 sites around the Royal City.

Green cones are a food waste digester system that’s currently being used by the Glenbrook North Zero Waste Challenge pilot project. As part of that initiative, a representative from the organization that distributes the green cones locally demonstrated the units to some employees at the city’s works yard.

“We thought it was interesting to give it a shot, try it out and see how it works,” said Kristian Davis, the city’s supervisor of solid waste and recycling.

Coun. Bill Harper had learned about the green cones at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention and felt it was something council should hear about, as it may have citywide implications.

“I thought this is like a revolution of composting organic waste,” he said. “You can put in chicken, cooked food, paper napkins.”

It’s estimated that food waste accounts for up to 30 per cent of residential garbage that ends up in landfills. The city believes green cones may provide an alternative way of dealing with food waste, by breaking these materials down in a safe way.

“It’s a food waste digester. It is not a composter,” Davis said. “It is being digested into the ground.”

Using solar heat, the contents are broken down into nutrient-rich water that drains into the soil around the green cone unit. The product that’s drained into the ground is safe.

“It’s all food that you have in your kitchen,” Davis pointed out. “It would accept anything from pasta, meat, bones, dairy.”

A staff report notes that the green cone is being used worldwide, including places like England, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the United States. More and more Metro Vancouver communities are considering them as a way of reducing the waste going to the landfill.

“The green cones have been around for more than 20 years,” Davis said. “It hasn’t really caught on here. In Europe, people, their attitudes are a bit different over there. They realized years ago there was an issue, we are going to just be coming to that point now that there is a need to dispose of our food waste.”

Staff at the city’s works yard are excited about putting the green cone to use and seeing how it works. All totalled, the city has purchased 20 green cones that will be used to determine whether more should be purchased.

“These green cones are meant for a family of about four to five,” Davis said. “They are basically on trial purposes.”

According to Davis, the green cones retail for about $140. It’s believed the city could purchase them for about $100 and subsidize the cost, a process that’s been done in the past with composters and rain barrels.

“They are supposed to be able to be used all year round,” Davis said about the green cones. “They do work with solar energy. It would be best located in a sunny area of the garden. They do work well in winter time.”

Because heat speeds up the degradation process, the green cones should be placed in the sunniest place in the yard.

“It is so warm (inside) that in the middle of winter, snow will melt on it,” Harper noted.

To install the green cone, a hole is dug in the ground, and the “digestion chamber” basket is buried below ground level.

“They don’t ever fill up is what I’ve been told,” Davis said. “They are constantly under this degradation process.”

A staff report notes that raccoons, coyotes and other animals are unable to tip over the green cones because they’re partially buried in the ground.

Because a hole is dug into the ground and the exterior has no ventilation, Davis said all smells from the food products are contained.

“The one downside is flies,” he said of a pest that can be treated. “That is inside the cone. There are sprays that don’t harm the bacteria.”

Harper believes the green cones could be helpful in reducing the amount of organic waste going to landfills.

“If you could get organics out of your garbage, that is a huge reduction in tipping fees,” he said.

If the pilot project has positive results, Harper would like to see the green cones offered to residents at a subsidized rate.

“We do the subsidized program now for regular composters,” he noted. “We want to see that they work, the way they work.”

Although commercial operators in the city don’t have recycling services, Harper believes the green cones could have implications for restaurants. “Just think about how much organic (waste) is thrown out at a restaurant.”


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Prices of Worms:
In general 1 lb.= $35.

RichmondTerranova Schoolyard Society
red wigglers
call 604-767-9264
Email: ianlai@telus.net
We can service Richmond, Delta, Langley.

North Vancouver
Blue Family Wigglers
604 988 2067
Kent Webster
Battery Direct Vancouver
3981 Phillips Avenue
Burnaby, BC V5A 3K4
T: 604-420-7737 F: 604-420-7738
email: kent.webster@batterydirect.com
Note: selling worms with the Worm Factory only
New WestminsterDoreen Hill

Maple Ridge
Compost Worms
Judy Vaughan
604-462-0679Dan & AnÕs Worm Farm
Contact: Tina
Tel: 778.317.4158
Email: tinathai@danandanswormfarm.com


Compost Culture
Emily Smallwood
604 892 3375
I sell red wigglers.
We sell the “Worm Chalet” made in Canada and Red Wiggler Worms.
Transform Compost Systems
3911 Mt Lehman Rd.
Abbotsford, BC. Canada, V4X 2N1
Ph 604-856-2722
or 877-877-9655
Fax 604-856-8444
Vern Lobe
Canadian Organic Worm Farms
“Black Gold”
(604) 857-0340
(604) 857-9087 (Fax)
Salt Spring Island
Stacia Kennedy
Salt Spring Global Worming
336 Trincomali Heights
Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 1M9
(250) 537-1111
email:staciak@telus.net com
We carry Eisenia foetida and Eisenia hortensis, vermicomposting bins, kitchen compost carriers, books, and vermiculture supplies.
Worms at Work
Dennis (250) 338-4332 

Fern Petersen
Down to Earthworms/Ahbau Farms
(250) 998-4631
All Things Organic
Mel Anderson
(250) 372-1235
Ronna Nowalkowski
(250) 428-9475.
have red wigglers for $30.00lb and castings for
$1.00 lb
also 1 lb bins made up for $70.00.Ê
phone: 250-427-7706
addres: 8078 Banman cres. Kimberley B.C.,V1A2Y3
M. Fraser
Box 123
Nakusp, B.C.
V0G 1R0
(250) 265-4200
email: kootenaywigglers@rocketmail.com
Wigglers from our small family operation are hand raised, hand harvested and available year round
Take Root Worm Farm
I sell complete starter worm bins, composting worms by the pound and worm castings (packaged and bulk).
Telephone number is 250 754-3536 Fax 250 754-3538
Email: takeroot@telus.net
Prince George
Northern Worm Ranch
Rob & Christa Beauchesne
Call: 1-250-560-5718
11675 Family Place Road, Prince George, BC
Red wrigglers available. $35 per lb for composting; $2.50 per dozen for bait.
Briteland Agricultural Supplies
3208 28th St
Vernon BC v1T 4Z8
Phone: 250.545.3420 or 250.545.8088
Toll free: 1.800.663.5416
Fax: 250.545.4921

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Compost bins can remove loads of waste and make loads of garden compost – a clean nutritious soil improver. All gardens thrive on garden compost – all soil types improve.


  • AUTUMN – sweep autumn leaves into bags and containers to make leaf mold or for composting later on.
  • Vegetable kitchen scraps, old plants and flowers provide continuous small amounts to compost.
  • SPRING – skim annual weeds into composter. Mix fresh grass with autumn leaves to make compost pile, ready by summer for autumn gardening. TIP: Spread leaves on lawn to mow into grass cuttngs.
  • SUMMER – Green manures nettles and comfrey cut from spring onwards keeps compost bin fired up.
  • In July / August cut hedges and shred into bags.
  • LATE SUMMER – Grass resumes growth. Mix cuttings with soft shredded hedge trimmings for an ideal green/brown mix for the compost bin.

Compost bins, worm bins and other techniques enable you to recycle on-site to get the nutrient value all over again – no noise, fuss, or carriage to recycling centres. Let’s start with compost making bins.

Different types of compost bin are used with different composting methods.  For more information on types of bins go here.

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