Foothill CollegeApproved Course Outlines

Biological and Health Sciences Division
9 hours lecture, 6 hours laboratory. This course meets 4 times per quarter.1 Unit

Total Quarter Learning Hours: 15 (Total of All Lecture, Lecture/Lab, and Lab hours X 12)
 Lecture Hours: .75 Lab Hours: .5 Lecture/Lab:
 Note: If Lab hours are specified, see item 10. Lab Content below.

Repeatability -
Statement: Not Repeatable.

Status -
 Course Status: ActiveGrading: Letter Grade Only
 Degree Status: ApplicableCredit Status: Credit
 Degree or Certificate Requirement: Certificate of Achievement,   AS Degree
 GE Status: Non-GE

Articulation Office Information -
 Transferability: CSUValidation: 11/14/12

1. Description -
Comprehensive introduction to the theory and practices utilized in composting of organic materials. Course provides a combination of classroom lectures, demonstrations, and lab activities geared to providing a clear understanding of various composting techniques including sustainable waste management practices, recycling of organics, backyard composting, and vermicomposting.
Prerequisite: None
Co-requisite: None
Advisory: None

2. Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. discuss the benefits of healthy soils and the contribution composting makes to plant nutrition.
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the theory, techniques, and maintenance practices used in composting and vermicomposting.
  3. discuss the changes that occur to organic materials during the composting process and the impact of aerobic decomposition on these materials.
  4. demonstrate the ability to construct and maintain a variety of composting and vermicomposting systems.
  5. compare and describe the various harvesting methods utilized in composting.
  6. describe how composting is used by different cultures in agricultural and garden settings.
3. 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.

4. Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Overview of soils and plant nutrition
    1. Soil content (organic and inorganic)
    2. Soil texture
    3. Benefits of healthy soils
  2. Composting and vermicomposting theory, techniques, and maintenance practices
    1. Composting & vermicomposting systems
    2. Benefits of composting
    3. Ingredients (ratios of organics, water, oxygen, and other nutrients)
    4. Temperature
    5. Micro-organisms (fungi & bacteria)
    6. Macro-organisms (worms, beetles, etc.)
    7. Compost turning
    8. Vermicomposting (storage bins, worms, food, maintenance, and harvesting)
  3. The composting process
    1. Aerobic decomposition of organic materials
    2. Which organic materials to utilize (and which not to)
    3. Backyard composting
  4. Construction & maintenance of composting and vermicomposting systems
    1. Proportion of organic matter
    2. Tools utilized in composting
    3. Troubleshooting (identifying problems and solutions)
    4. Site visits to view composting systems
  5. Harvesting methods
    1. Evaluation of compost quality
    2. Applications for finished composts
  6. Composting systems in different cultural settings
    1. Agricultural
    2. Garden

5. Repeatability - Moved to header area.
6. Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Lab practical skills tests.
  2. Field test on composting techniques.
7. 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.

8. Disciplines -
Ornamental Horticulture
9. Method of Instruction -
  1. In-class discussions on the benefits of healthy soils.
  2. Lab work and field installations which demonstrate composting and vermicomposting practices.
  3. Class discussions of organic materials and the composting process.
  4. Lab work and field installations which demonstrate composting and vermicomposting practices.
  5. Lecture presentations and classroom discussions on harvesting methods.
  6. In-class discussions of cultural impacts of composting.
10. Lab Content -
  1. Construction of composting and vermicomposting systems.
  2. Maintenance of composting and vermicomposting systems.
  3. Harvesting practices.
  4. Field trips
11. Honors Description - No longer used. Integrated into main description section.
12. Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Typical reading assignments will include weekly reviews of concepts pertaining to the theory, practice, maintenance, and compost harvesting techniques presented in each specific class. This involves approximately 20 pages of reading per week.
13. Need/Justification -
This course is a restricted support course for the AS degree and Certificate of Achievement in Environmental Horticulture and Design.

Course status: Active
Last updated: 2015-03-11 08:47:11

Foothill CollegeApproved Course Outlines