Sale of Can-O-WormsTM Worm Farms
The NWRSC Solid Waste Service has for sale Can-O-WormsTM worm farms that are attractive and very efficient.
For all details or to purchase a Can-O-WormsTM worm farm, click here.
Short Film on Vermicomposting (Worm Composting)
Film created in partnership with the New Brunswick Botanical Garden (www.jardinnbgarden.com).
Music by: Bruno Jacques Pelletier (www.brunojacquespelletier.com).
Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof
Pamphlet on Vermicomposting
Click here to consult the pamphlet on the vermicomposting program offered by the NWRSC. Print only if needed!
Read More to Learn All About Vermicomposting…
What is Vermicomposting (or Worm Composting)?
Vermicomposting is a method of composting using redworms (compost worms) and microorganisms to transform organic materials (such as fruit and vegetable scraps) into rich nutrients. This vermicompost improves soil and plant conditions.
It is generally performed indoors, so it is ideal for people with no backyard and where space is limited.
- Has a high nitrogen content (key element for plant growth);
- A small quantity can be added to indoor plants and to garden and lawn soil, as well as around shrubs, etc.;
- Improves soil conditions and provides certain essential nutrients to plants;
- Improves the structure of both sand and clay soils, protecting them against drought and erosion.
Who Could Be Interested in Vermicomposting?
- People who have no backyard, apartment dwellers, for example;
- People with a physical impairment, who can not compost outside;
- People who wish to produce a high quality solid and liquid fertilizers;
- Everyone who wish to live a pleasant experience!
Why Opt for Vermicomposting?
- To reduce waste at the source;
- To save money;
- To produce a natural vermicompost at home;
- To improve vegetable garden and flower bed soils;
- To reduce pollution caused by transportation of organic materials to landfill sites;
- To recreate the natural cycle and thereby creating an exchange with the earth;
- To learn and to experience a wonderful challenge!
How To Do It?
Important elements in vermicomposting are:
- 60 to 80% (not too dry nor too moist)
- Temperature16 to 25oC (not too warm nor too cold)
- pH6 to 8 (sprinkle with crushed egg shells to balance pH)
- C / N Ratio – A balanced amount of browns (carbon – C) and greens (nitrogen – N)
- Fill a container with green materials (fruit and vegetable scraps). Then, place in freezer (to store your materials as long as possible and prevent odors). This is optional; if you prefer, you can feed the worms directly.
Cutting in small pieces fruit and vegetable scraps will speed decomposition process.
- To feed the worms: Bury the food wastes in one section of vermicomposter once or twice a week and cover with a layer of brown materials such as shredded newspapers (black-and-white). It is important to bury fruit and vegetable wastes underneath the bedding.
- It is essential to sprinkle regularly finely crushed egg shells (1 tbs) on bedding (vermicompost) in order to reduce acidity. Store shells in a separate container from the green materials so that they dry up completely making it easier to obtain a fine powder.
- Remove the liquid regularly (vermicompost tea) accumulated in bottom of Can-O-WormsTMworm farm. This liquid, rich in nutrients, can be used to water your plants if diluted with water (10 parts water for 1 part tea).
- Never stir vigorously vermicompost. The worms will take care of that!
- If vermicompost is too dry, add water. Worms like moisture! If too wet or a strong odor is produced, cover with a thick layer of black-and-white newspapers or corrugated cardboard.
For more information, please consult the document “QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE CAN-O-WORMSTM”.
Green Materials (rich in nitrogen – N)
- Fruits and vegetables (Peels and seeds are also accepted.)
Attention: Do not add banana peels or citrus fruits (oranges, lemons) → attract fruit flies.
- Plants and flowers (houseplants only – to avoid presence of insects)
Beware of plants that have been sprayed with a pesticide… To avoid.
- Egg shells (preferably crushed)
Ideal, because they neutralize acidity in worm compost.
- Tea leaves or bags / herbal tea
Bags will decompose also.
- Ground coffee (spent coffee)
Add the filter since it is considered a brown material.
Brown Materials (rich in carbon – C)
- Shredded newspapers (non-coloured → black-and-white)
- White pages of a telephone directory (not the Yellow Pages)
- Coffee filter (non-bleached is preferable)
- Egg cartons (small pieces)
- Corrugated cardboard (small pieces)
Materials to Avoid in vermicomposter
- Banana and citrus fruit peels (can attract fruit flies)
*However, if you bury the banana peels underneath the litter, there should be no problem…
- Meat, bones and fish
- Fatty products, milk products and bread
- Leftover food containing sauces, fats… (for example: stir-fry)
- Pet wastes
- Diseased plants or plants affected by a virus
- Contaminated products (for example: plants treated with pesticides)
- Facial tissue
- Vacuum cleaner bag content (May contain plastics, heavy metals, etc.)
- Lint from the dryer
- All materials found outside (This depends on you; if you want to avoid bringing inside insects from the outside, avoid adding any such materials in your vermicomposter.)
Where to Find Red Worms?
The NWRSC Solid Waste Service is able to sell a small amount of red worms to the surrounding community (low production volume).
If you live outside the New Brunswick’s northwestern region and would like to buy red worms, please contact the Ferme Eugénia at 418-736-5114 (red worm grower located near Rimouski, Quebec).
We recommend that you buy at least 600 to 1000 red worms (approx. 1lb.) to start with (1/2 lb. could do the trick also).
Problems and Solutions
You open your vermicomposter (Can-O-WormsTM) and notice an unpleasant smell: Do not add food wastes for at least a week and add black-and-white newspapers (thickness: 2 inches) to cover the bedding.
A large quantity of worms crawl on the sides and underneath the cover: Add a little food wastes, crushed egg shells and black-and-white newspapers. Reduce acidic materials such as coffee.
Too dry: Pour a large quantity of water on the bedding so that it becomes moist enough but not too soaked. Remember to sprinkle bedding, such as newspapers, on a regular basis.
Too moist: Add brown materials such as black-and-white newspapers.
Presence of small fruit flies: This will seldom happen if you always make sure to bury the food underneath the litter and avoid overfeeding the worms.
Steps to follow when faced with a fruit fly problem:
- Stop feeding the worms for at least two to three weeks, until all fruit flies have disappeared.
- Remove all food that have not yet decomposed from the vermicompost bin and throw away in an outside garbage container (not indoors).
- Add a heavy layer of shredded non coloured newspaper (3 to 4 inches thick) over each layer of the worm litter (vermicompost). This will prevent the development of a new generation of flies.
- Install a fly trap near the vermicompost bin in order to catch all adult flies. You can install a yellow sticky trap (adhesive strips) that will catch small black flies that are attracted by that color. There is another option, building your own trap. The vinegar trap described below proves to be particularly efficient.
Important advice: To prevent the development of fruit flies, it is essential to bury the fruits and vegetables UNDERNEATH the litter and NOT feed the worms too much. If you open the cover of your vermicompost bin, no pieces of fruit or vegetable should stick out from the litter. Fruit flies need air-exposed food to lay their eggs. They cannot dig into the litter to reproduce themselves.
Fruit Fly Traps
This trap is made with bottles containing sweet fruit pieces, mainly bananas and oranges, and topped with a paper funnel. The flies will be attracted by the sugar in the fruits and will enter in the trap. However, since the flies will try to get out from the top opening of the bottle and the funnel opening is located in the bottle center, the flies will be less likely to succeed in getting out.
These traps can be replaced as soon as fruits are dried. If strong odors are released, the trap should not be replaced immediately because the flies are particularly attracted by ethene and ethanol that emanate from the bottle.
A very simple trap to build using the following materials: a plastic container or a glass, a small plastic bag (baggie) and a rubber band. Pour a small quantity of apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar in the bottom of container, enough to cover entirely the bottom and add one drop of liquid dish soap in order to trap and drown the flies. Cut out a small hole (the size of a fruit fly) in the corner of the bag. With rubber band, attach intact corner of bag to container in such a way as to create an inverted cone and aiming the corner with the hole towards the vinegar.
Where to Use Vermicompost and Tea Obtained?
- When planting a tree
- In seedling potting soil (protects seedlings from disease)
- In the vegetable garden
- In flower beds (plants and shrubs)
- Add to household potting soil (No more than 1/3 vermicompost)
- The vermicompost tea (liquid fertilizer) can be diluted with water (10:1) and can be used to water plants.
How to Use Vermicompost?
- It is important to mix (bury) vermicompost in the soil.
- It is not recommended to add too much vermicompost to the soil. Vermicompost must be used in small quantities to make sure it is absorbed adequately by soil and plants. If not absorbed adequately, the excess nutrients will be washed away towards ground-water body or elsewhere, which can bring about risks of water pollution.
- It is best to spread smaller quantities of vermicompost during the year than to spread a large quantity all at once.