By Deb Heleba, University of Vermont Extension Office
Become a wizard at turning your kitchen scraps and yard waste into gardening gold.
Registration is now open for the University of Vermont Extension’s Vermont Master Composter course, designed to teach the basics of backyard composting.
The online course opens on Sept. 2. It runs for eight weeks and course materials, including weekly learning modules, two online manuals, quizzes, a final exam and additional course materials, will be available to participants until Dec. 2.
Live discussion sessions with instructors will be offered via Zoom on six consecutive Thursdays from 6-7 p.m., beginning Sept. 8. These will be archived for later viewing.
The course is sponsored by the University of Vermont Extension Community Horticulture Program with financial support from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The cost is $50 for Vermonters and $150 for out-of-state residents.
Topics to be covered include the biology of composting, soil and decomposition ecology, site and container selection, compost “recipes,” the compost process, troubleshooting, disease control, worm composting and Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law (Act 148).
Two tracks are offered to meet participant needs.
The volunteer track is designed for individuals interested in becoming certified as a Vermont Master Composter to teach others about composting through educational workshops and demonstrations, newspaper articles or assistance with a University of Vermont Extension volunteer composting project. This track requires participation in one hands-on session on either Sept. 24 in Ludlow or Oct. 1 in St. Albans.
To earn certification, 10 hours of volunteer service must be completed within two years of completion of the course. To maintain active status as a certified Vermont Master Composter volunteer, five hours or more of community outreach are required every year in subsequent years.
Anyone who does not have the time or interest in volunteering may register for a second, learn-at-your-own-pace track, which covers the same course materials. A Vermont Certificate of Home Composting will be awarded upon the completion of the course, including the final exam.
Contact the University of Vermont Extension Master Gardener program office at 802-656-9562.