Would you like to have a healthier vegetable garden or lawn, and save money in the process? Backyard composting will allow you to turn food scraps and yard trimmings into "black gold," adding rich, organic nutrients to your soil for a lower cost than purchased fertilizers and compost.
You can learn how to make your own compost by signing up for the Vermont Master Composter course by Sept. 11. Classes will begin on Sept. 17 and run for four consecutive Thursdays from 6:15 to 9 p.m. at Vermont Interactive Technology sites in Bennington, Brattleboro, Johnson, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Randolph Center, Rutland, St. Albans, Springfield, White River Junction and Williston.
The course, sponsored by the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Master Gardener program, costs $50 and includes online access to all class materials and the comprehensive Vermont Master Composter Resource Manual. You can register either online at www.uvm.edu/mastergardener or by calling the UVM Extension Master Gardener Program Office at (802) 656-9562. If requiring a disability-related accommodation to attend, please call by Sept. 11.
In addition to providing the "recipe" for making good compost, instructors will talk about site and container selection as well as steps to manage the compost process. You also will learn about worm composting, disease management and other topics to ensure composting success.
Once you complete the course, you may choose to earn certification to become a Vermont Master Composter. To become certified, you must volunteer for 20 hours within a two-year period on community or school composting projects. You also may assist with UVM Extension Master Gardener projects that include a composting component. Once certified, you will be asked to provide a minimum of five hours of community outreach each year.