Tag: compost education centre

Compost Educator Training this September!

The Basics:
The Compost Educator Program (CEP) is a comprehensive volunteer training program that has been offered by the Centre since 1992.

The CEP includes 10 hours of classroom, practical, and hands-on instruction.  It is spread over the course of two Saturdays.

The next session will take place on Saturday September 20 from 10am-3pm and Saturday September 27 from 10am-3pm.

Space is limited to 15 participants per session.

Cost is $50.

To reserve your space in the Compost Educator Program, please email Clare at education (a) compost.bc.ca or register online HERE.

Features of the training:

  •  Site tour, Centre services & staff orientation
  • Composting systems & methods
  • Compost pile maintenance & troubleshooting
  • Worm-bins & indoor composting
  • Answers for the public’s Compost FAQ
  • Hot compost pile building
  • Community educational outreach skills
  • Intro to permaculture principles & application
  • Organic gardening & soil building
  • Comprehensive compost manual that is yours to keep
  • Potluck lunches!

Following the training course, volunteers can lend their skills to the Centre as community educators and site volunteers.

Volunteer opportunities include:

outreach displayCommunity outreach volunteering involves staffing the Compost Education Centre mobile displays when we attend different events throughout the CRD, such as:

  • Moss St. Market
    Seedy Saturday
    Organic Islands Festival

Community outreach is a powerful tool to spread the ‘dirt’ on composting.  It’s a great experience for all involved.



garden volunteersGarden volunteering is a great opportunity to learn new skills and help out in the gardens at the Compost Ed Centre!  Work bees are held on the first Saturday of every month from 12:30-3:30.  Each one is focused on a relevant task in the garden for that month of the growing season.  We begin with a short theory lesson to give some background on the task and then get dirty applying the new knowledge in the garden.

Fall organic plant sale on Aug 16th!

Here at the Compost Education Centre, we always enjoy watching beautiful starts leave the sale to find their new homes in gardens around town.  We’ll be hosting our second plant sale of the year on Saturday August 16th from 10am-1pm.  This is a great opportunity to pick up some great veggie starts such as broccoli, kale and chard varieties for healthy winter eating!


August is ‘bring a friend for free’ month!

We are excited to offer a 2-for-1 special on our August workshops!  For the month of August, all Compost Club members who take a workshop can bring a friend along for free.  When registering online, simply purchase your workshop ticket as you usually do, then choose the option to bring along a friend at no cost.  Looking forward to seeing you and your pals at these fantastic events!

You can choose from two awesome August workshops for the promotion:

beeNatural Beekeeping
August 9th

Are you curious about how to get started with natural backyard beekeeping? Join Tara Beninger, local beekeeper extraordinaire, to learn all about effective and natural beekeeping. Topics will include advantages of different hive designs, how to build an effective hive for our specific climate, natural approaches to bee health, bee-friendly hive management, and more!  To register, click here.
August 23rd

Aquaponics is an efficient, sustainable system that produces both fish and hydroponic vegetables! We will examine the development of aquaponics, techniques, new innovations and home-scale projects for the sustainable urban gardener. A range of potential crops and fish will be discussed, and we will also cover different materials and where to source them. The main focus will be on freshwater home  systems, with the Compost Centre’s demonstration garden providing a practical example. We will also take a tour of the large-scale aquaponics system at Mason Street City Farm just a few blocks away from the Compost Education Centre!  To register, click here. 


Solstice Beauty

June is the month where things settle into their boots (or roots, if you will) and start to show off everything they’ve got.  I recently took a walk around the garden on the Summer Solstice to capture some of the sweet moments that are currently happening.  Think nasturtiums, calendula, borage, phacelia, arugula flowers, Johnny Jump Ups and a king-size mullein! (Click on the photos for larger, more glorious images)

red nasti

patio nasturtiums

greenhouse pano

lettuce 1

emily lettuce

dragon tongue




rose bee

calendula and borage

bee phacelia

oca and jollies

tangerine nasturtiums

king mullein

phacelia phlox



Many of the flowers pictured here are deliberately planted as companions for the vegetables nearby.  Calendual and nasturtiums act as pest traps, attracting aphids away from squash and brassicas.  Borage and phacelia attract pollinators (like the bumble bee doing the splits above!) to squash, tomato, and cucumber flowers.  And Johnny Jump Ups and roses bring joy to pretty much anyone who stops to spy or sniff them.  Welcome to summer everyone!



New Beneficial Insect Garden!

We’ve recently planted a garden to provide food and habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects here at the Centre.  The goal of this garden is to provide forage for these little helpers throughout the growing season.  Plant varieties were selected based on flowering time (spring/summer/fall), colour, flower shape, and species they attract.

Scroll on down to check them out and don’t forget to drop by the Centre on June 14th for Pollination Education Day!


Wild Bergamont
Wild Bergamont (Monarda fistulosa)

Bergamont (Monarda spp.) – Also called “Beebalm”, these plants flower late in the summer and on into fall.  Wild Bergamont (Monarda fistulosa) has light purple flowers, whereas its ornamental cultivar (Monarda didyma) come in spectacular reds and pinks.  The leaves of this plant are very fragrant and can be used as a tea.


Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – Known for its calming effect on the nervous system, not only is this herb great as a tea, but its flowers also attract a host of beneficial insects.  Flowers in the summer; ladybugs are attracted to it.


Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) – this native species is often seen in woodlands.  It flowers earlier than many others and so is wonderful to have in a pollinator garden to extend the forage season.  It attracts butterflies, bumblebees and humming birds.

Comfrey (Symphytum spp.)

Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) – We can’t get enough of this multi-functional plant at the Compost Education Centre!  Comfrey is not only a powerful medicinal, its flowers make the bees go crazy!  Flowers in the spring through to early summer.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Another medicinal that’s good for us and the good for bees!  Any lavender will do, the fragrant purple flowers attract bees, hoverflies and butterflies.


Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp)

Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) – This spotty-leaved, violet-flowered plant was chosen because of its early spring bloom time.  Most flowers we are familiar with bloom in the summer, and beneficial insects need food before then.  Lungwort flowers in early spring and provides food for bees.

Sweet cicely
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) – We were lucky to have this gorgeous, useful flower volunteer in our pollinator garden!  Sweet Cicely flowers are a perfect example of the “umbel” shape that is so critical for many beneficial insects.  This shape provides a landing pad and easy access to  lots of nectar inside each of the tiny individual flowers.  Not only this, but Sweet Cicely’s anise-flavoured seeds and leaves can be used as an alternative sweetner, as a tea or just to snack on.  Please make sure you have a positive ID for this plant if you come across something that looks similar in the wild, there are poisonous look alikes!

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) – Tansy’s flowers are also easy to land upon and their brilliant yellow is beautiful in the garden.  Tansy flwoers in the summer and attracts lacewings.


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – Once again, we see the umbel flower shape here.  Yarrow flowers in the summer and attracts ladybugs, hoverflies and parasitic mini-wasps who will munch on damaging caterpillars.  Yarrow leaves and flowers can also be used as a tea to ease menstrual cramps and ease digestion.