Top Three Reasons to Become a Master Composter

Blog Post by Master Composter Graduate, Tammy Churchill. 

When I registered for the Master Composter Course in early 2020, I did not have much experience composting, as my neglected passive pile would gladly attest.

Composting was something I was interested in: I’d moved into a new house with plenty of room for growing vegetables, and I wanted to give them the best possible soil. I also hated the idea of food waste going into the landfill where the nutrients would be lost.

As soon as I saw the Solana Center’s post advertising the class, I signed up on the same day. For those of you who are considering taking the course, here are my top three reasons to encourage you to do so:

1. Knowledge

This was the primary reason I signed up. I love learning, and it was a topic I wanted to know more about. And the lessons were exactly what I’d hoped for. They were jam-packed with information but presented in a way that was easily understandable. Concepts were emphasized, not the specifics such as which bacteria is active when in the process of heating up a pile. After the very first lesson, I went out and addressed my current pile that hadn’t decomposed at all.

As I moved my bin to a new location and started building a fresh pile based on what I’d learned only an hour before, I saw immediately why it wasn’t doing anything – it was bone dry and everything had compacted – two of the five deadly sins of composting. Before the next class, I had my rebuilt pile and saw that it was cooking at temperatures of 120 degrees!

2. Community

Gardening in general, and composting in particular, are solitary activities. While Google is always there, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about decomposition. My friends would nod and smile a bit wearily when I talked about the benefits of hot versus passive piles or introduced the idea of vermicomposting. Through the Master Composter Course I met a group of like-minded individuals that got just as excited about pile temperatures getting hotter and hotter.

3. Volunteer Opportunities

To be honest, the only slight hesitation I had in signing up for the class had to do with the 30 volunteer hours necessary to officially complete the course. What would I be doing? Would I have enough knowledge to be helpful to anyone? I put my faith in the wisdom of the Solana Center and registered. I’m so glad I did.

The hours I’ve put in so far have been instrumental in mentally cementing the information and giving me confidence that I know what I’m doing. Common wisdom states the best way to learn something is to teach it, and that has definitely been the case for me. So far I’ve assisted with webinars and will be helping out at an in-person workshop where I will get to learn about new-to-me topic along with the participants. I can’t recommend the course highly enough!

If you are considering taking the Master Composter Course, now is your chance! Sign up or get on the waitlist for the five-week course starting on Saturday, September 14th at the Tecolote Canyon Nature Center, sponsored by the City of San Diego. Space runs out quickly, so consider registering today.