Learn the basics of composting through Master Composter Course
Composting is an easy, cost-efficient method of reusing yard waste make “black gold” to improve your lawn and landscape while saving money.
Yard waste makes up an average of 20 percent of the waste stream. During the summer and fall months, that can rise to as much as 50 percent in some areas. There are many advantages to handling your yard waste at home for your landscape and the environment. Composting is a good way to reduce the collection, disposal and handling of yard waste off-site.
Composting is the biological decomposition of organic waste under controlled conditions to produce a beneficial soil amendment also called “black gold” by its supporters.
There are many benefits to composting:
- Increases organic matter in the soil
- Builds sound root structure
- Improves soil structure
- Attracts earthworms
- Balances the pH of the soil
- Helps reduce soil erosion
- Reduces reliance on commercial fertilizers
- Reduces need by plants for water
There are four necessary components of the compost process. You need organic materials from your yard such as leaves, grass, small trimmings from shrubs. You also need air, water and microorganisms. These organisms are naturally occurring and do not to be added. They will find your compost pile and love it.
Finished compost is a valuable material for your yard. Compost contains nutrients that can be slowly released back into the soil and absorbed by the plant. It can be used as a top dressing for the lawn, mixed with garden soil for planting. You can even make compost tea to water indoor house plants.
Michigan State University Extension offers the Master Composter Course in several locations around the state. In Southeast Michigan, this six-week course will be offered through the Macomb MSU Extension office on Thursday evenings beginning October 2 running through November 6. This course covers the basics of composting, soil chemistry, compost equipment, yard waste reduction, large scale composting and worm composting complete with assistance in making your own worm bin.