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|Description - |
|Comprehensive introduction to the theory and practices utilized in composting of organic materials. Course provides a combination of classroom lectures, demonstrations, and activities geared to providing a clear understanding of various composting techniques including sustainable waste management practices, recycling of organics, backyard composting, and vermicomposting.|
|Course Objectives - |
|The student will be able to: |
- discuss the benefits of healthy soils and the contribution composting makes to plant nutrition.
- demonstrate an understanding of the theory, techniques, and maintenance practices used in composting and vermicomposting.
- discuss the changes that occur to organic materials during the composting process and the impact of aerobic decomposition on these materials.
- demonstrate the ability to construct and maintain a variety of composting and vermicomposting systems.
- compare and describe the various harvesting methods utilized in composting.
- describe how composting is used by different cultures in agricultural and garden settings.
|Special Facilities and/or Equipment - |
|Horticultural laboratory, compost area, greenhouse, nursery, and related horticultural facilities and equipment. Students provide pruning shears with sheath, work boots, leather gloves, and clothing for fieldwork. |
|Course Content (Body of knowledge) - |
- Overview of soils and plant nutrition
- Soil content (organic and inorganic)
- Soil texture
- Benefits of healthy soils
- Composting and vermicomposting theory, techniques, and maintenance practices
- Composting & vermicomposting systems
- Benefits of composting
- Ingredients (ratios of organics, water, oxygen, and other nutrients)
- Micro-organisms (fungi & bacteria)
- Macro-organisms (worms, beetles, etc.)
- Compost turning
- Vermicomposting (storage bins, worms, food, maintenance, and harvesting)
- The composting process
- Aerobic decomposition of organic materials
- Which organic materials to utilize (and which not to)
- Backyard composting
- Construction & maintenance of composting and vermicomposting systems
- Proportion of organic matter
- Tools utilized in composting
- Troubleshooting (identifying problems and solutions)
- Site visits to view composting systems
- Harvesting methods
- Evaluation of compost quality
- Applications for finished composts
- Composting systems in different cultural settings
|Methods of Evaluation - |
- Practical skills tests.
- Field test on composting techniques.
|Representative Text(s) - |
|Lowenfels, J. and Lewis, W. Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2010. |
|Disciplines - |
|Ornamental Horticulture |
|Method of Instruction - |
- Discussions on the benefits of healthy soils.
- Lab work and field installations which demonstrate composting and vermicomposting practices.
- Discussions of organic materials and the composting process.
- Presentations and discussions on harvesting methods.
- Discussions of cultural impacts of composting.
|Lab Content - |
|Not applicable. |
|Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments - |
- Reading assignments include weekly reviews of concepts pertaining to the theory, practice, maintenance, and compost harvesting techniques presented in each specific class (approx. 20 pages per week).