Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Worm Words
Glossary For Teachers

From The Compost Module
Copyright (C) 1991
getting oxygen into the compost by mixing or turning.

requires oxygen. Aerobic conditions in a compost bin are desirable. Aerobic organisms use oxygen to carry out their life functions. Because oxygen is present, the bin will not smell.

does not require oxygen. Under anaerobic conditions, a compost bin will smell. Anaerobic organisms can grow without the presence of oxygen.

materials like newspaper and leaves used as an organic medium for worm composting.

carbon rich compostable materials. Usually dry as well.

worm eggs or egg cases, they can carry from 2 to 20 worms.

the end result of the composting process or the process itself. Compost is a dark, rich soil conditioner known as humus which has been created through the biological reduction of organic material.

container, usually a bin or box used for composting.

Compost Tea
water in which finished compost has been 'steeped' to concoct a liquid fertilizer for plants.

Compostable Materials
organic materials that will break down in a compost bin.

(Compost) Critters
micro and macroorganisms that live in the soil and help break down organic matter.

the biochemical process which occurs when organic matter is broken down by decomposer organisms into a nutrient rich soil conditioner called humus.

to rot, break down or decompose.

the process of breaking down organic matter into its basic elements including nutrients needed for plant growth. Decomposition occurs in nature and in controlled environments like compost bins.

a mutually dependent system consisting of plant, animal life and inorganic matter.

a substance (natural or man-made) used to enrich the soil and to provide food for plants.

Food Scraps
in the Compost Module, food scraps generally refer to uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps or any compostable food materials.

nitrogen rich compost materials (usually wet).

an unenclosed compost pile.

finished compost, formed through the break down of plants and animal matter. Humus retains and slowly releases nutrients to plants.

liquid that has been generated by solid waste decomposition and which has extracted, dissolved or suspended materials in it. The leachate from a compost bin or worm bin is full of nutrients and is an excellent liquid fertilizer.

Leaf Mold
decomposed or mostly decomposed leaves.

organisms that are visible to the eye.

organisms that cannot be seen without magnification.

a layer of partially decomposed plant materials placed on top of garden beds and around plants and shrubs.

Organic Matter
any organic material that is or once was living or was once produced by a living organism.

to put too much food into a worm bin that can be processed aerobically.

Red Worm
a variety of earthworm suitable for vermicomposting. The Red Wiggler is a red worm.

Rodent Resistant
compost bins designed or modified in such a way as to deter pests from making a home in the bin.

to sift out uncomposted matter from humus to create a fine compost.

tiny rocks, sand, silt, clay plus decomposers plus organic matter.

Soil Conditioner
something that enriches the physical condition of soil and increases its organic content.

to carry out composting with worms or the end product from composting with worms. Vermicompost contains worm castings, broken down organic matter, bedding, worm cocoons, worms and other organisms.

a worm bin or person who composts with worms.

composting with worms.

worm farming or raising earthworms.

Worm Bin
a container especially prepared for worms to live in and eat organic garbage. A vermicomposting system.

Worm Castings
worm manure or worm 'poop'

Wet Garbage
usually refers to food scraps, grass clippings and garden waste; compostable, organic materials.

Composting With Red Wiggler Worms

Urban Home Composting

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Revised October 16, 1996

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture