Return of the composting workshops with the Master Gardeners

The Master Gardener program at the University of California in Ventura County offers a free workshop called “Composting and Vermicomposting Basics” three times in October.

The Master Gardener composting workshops, which return after three years, will be held in Oxnard, Santa Paula and Thousand Oaks.

Even if your garbage hauler provides your home with a separate collection service to recycle yard waste, there are plenty of good reasons to save a backyard compost pile for at least some of these instead. waste. The compost you produce can provide your garden with slow-release nutrients, texture improving texture, and moisture-retaining structure, reducing the need for commercial fertilizer and mulch. When managed properly, backyard composting produces this valuable soil amendment without generating odors or attracting flies and makes your garden healthier and more resistant to pests and heat.

Next year, some local curbside yard waste collection programs are likely to be expanded to allow bagged food waste in yard waste carts. The bags will be separated and broken by sorters and mechanical systems, and the food will be transferred to composting facilities. At least initially, until a local composting site can get a permit to compost food scraps, the food will be trucked to remote sites, mostly in Kern County, for composting.

Instead, good composting in your garden closes the recycling loop right in your garden by facilitating and managing the natural decomposition process. Handling yard waste and leftover food in your backyard – instead of placing it in your curbside yard waste collection program – reduces energy use and pollution from trucking materials to facilities. composting, processing of materials on sites and distribution of finished compost to users.

Master volunteer gardeners will present different methods of composting and vermicomposting. Vermicomposting involves growing worms rather than using a compost bin. The worms are usually of the Eisenia fetida variety, commonly known as “red worms”.

Under ideal conditions, a pound of worms can eat half a pound of leftover food each. In a well-managed worm box, the worms reproduce at a level sufficient to handle the amount of food they receive. These worms reproduce quickly because they are hermaphrodites – each worm is both male and female – and they reach sexual maturity in 60 days. Just 30 days after mating, they can produce fertilized egg capsules containing up to seven baby worms, according to Alexa Hendricks, master gardener program coordinator with UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County.

A worm box is the only viable solution for recycling the food scraps of apartment dwellers and others who do not have room for a compost bin. With a collection bin under the crate, vermicomposting is viable on a balcony or, with care, even indoors. Vermicomposting is also a good solution for composting food scraps, as using a box rather than a bin minimizes the potential for flies and other pests.

Up to 30 participants will be allowed per presentation. Previous workshops typically attracted 15-20 guests, but it has been at least three years since the last composting workshop was offered by the master gardeners.

All events take place outdoors, but masks and social distancing are recommended. All sites have bathrooms, but bring your own water.

To register, go to and look under the “Calendar” tab, or use the links below.

Oxnard: Saturday, October 9, 10 am-11:30am, Oxnard Farm Park, 1251 Gottfried Place.

Sainte-Paule: Wednesday, October 20, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 287 S. Briggs Road. Enter through the gate and park on the left, then follow the signs for the event.

Thousand Oaks: Thusday, October 28, 11 a.m. to noon, in the True Color Gardens in front of the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road.

David Goldstein, Environmental Analyst at Ventura County Public Works, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected]

Comments are closed.