The worm turns, and makes great fertilizer

Compsting can use worms to create nutrient-rich soil.

To worm or not to worm. Should it be worm composting or traditional composting. Both result in nutrient-rich material for the yard and garden.

For many people, avoiding worms is a reason not to get into vermiculture (worm composting).

But it’s worth consideration by anyone since people don’t have to handle the worms (how and where the compost material is placed within the worm container gets the worms moving in the right direction).

The result is nutrient-rich worm poop that has converted the scraps into quality fertilizer.

“It’s all personal preference,” explained Heather Lee, who does education for the Langley Environmental Partners Society.

Worms need less space but must be brought inside during cold weather. Worm composters can be put on balconies or patios.

“It’s a good alternative if you live in a smaller home,” she said of worms.

Traditional composting requires yard space and some people have more than one composter so they can rotate their materials (while one pile is decaying, a new pile can be started).

One of the easiest ways to learn about composting is to take a LEPS workshop. On May 25 at 6:30 p.m., people can take part in a Backyard Composting workshop. People need to RSVP to ensure there’s room. Contact garden@leps.bc.ca.

“That one is baiscally Composting 101,” she said. “We’ll do a tour of the demo graden and the different composters we have.”

There’s about half a dozen different kinds at the demonstration garden (21000 Fraser Hwy.) and it’s open to the public everyday.

The composting workshop is repeated in August.

One key thing people will learn is to be green, they need to include brown. About half the mixture should be brown material (newspaper, straw, shredded unbleached paper, kraft paper and grass clipping).

Stirring the pile is vital to circulate air and help decomposition.

“You should be able to harvest it within two to three months,” Lee explained.

She recommends putting the composter in a sunny spot to let the heat of the sun help with decomposition.

In LEPS workshops, people will also learn about how to prevent vermin in the composter.

“If you’re putting the right ratios in and you’re stiring it, it should attract rodents,” Lee said.

It’s easy to get started composting.

Langley Township residents can get a deal on 80-gallon composters for $25 and Wing Digger aerator for $15. They are used to mix the compost.

The items are available at the Township Civic Facility, 20338 65th Ave., or the Township operations centre,

What to compost

• Vegetable peelings, scraps

• Rotten fruit and peels/seeds, etc.

• Coffee grounds

• Tea leaves

(These items can be cooked or raw but cannot have items such as dairy,

Brown items

• Dry leaves, grass and plant stalks

• Shredded newsprint (non-toxics only) or brown paper (e.g. paper bags)

• Cut-up cardboards (recycle large pieces)

• Other paper (unbleached paper towels, napkins, etc. Wet is okay but not anything with grease on it.

• Rinsed, crushed eggshells

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, adding pet hair to the composter will help discourage rodents.

And there is a use for dryer lint. Add it to your compost pile as one of the “browns.” but it must be from biodegradable fibres like organic cotton, linen and not synthetic fibres.

What not to add:

• Oils and fats, bread products, rice and pasta, sauces, dairy products, nuts, fish and meat, or bones. (These can be added to Township and City green cans to be taken away for anaerobic composting.)

• Dog or cat feces, kitty litter, and human waste.

• Treated wood products which may contain harmful chemicals.

• Bleached paper products

 

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