Virtual Master Composter Course teaches composting

Take a virtual deep dive into gaining the skills of basics of composting from the comfort of your own home.

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Food scraps collected for composting. Photo by Eliza Hensel, MSU Extension.

As a master composter, you can discover how to recycle organic materials into a usable soil amendment product that can provide additional nutrients to your soil and act as a mulch protecting plants from water loss and soil erosion. You will also have a unique opportunity to provide leadership and education through sharing what you learn with others.

This course is for anyone interested in composting. There is no prerequisite and it is ideal for gardeners, homeowners, community gardeners, small and specialty crop farmers and community supported agriculture operations.

Training includes

  • A look at soil basics, many types of bins and methods of composting, compost basics, nutrient requirements for plants and uses for composting.
  • Completion of the program will provide participants with the opportunity to receive their Master Composter Certification.

Master Composter Certification Course Registration  

Why does composting matter?

There are many advantages to composting your organic waste at home for your landscape and the environment. Composting is a good way to reduce the collection, disposal and handling of yard waste offsite.

Composting is the biological decomposition of organic waste under controlled conditions to produce a beneficial soil amendment also called "black gold” by its supporters.

Benefits of composting

  • Increases organic matter in the soil
  • Builds sound root structure
  • Improves soil structure
  • Balances pH of the soil
  • Helps reduce soil erosion
  • Reduces reliance on commercial fertilizer
  • Reduces need by plants for water
  • Helps improve climate change resiliency

The four necessary components of the compost process are organic materials from your yard (such as leaves, grass, small trimmings from shrubs), air, water and microorganisms. These organisms are naturally occurring and do not need to be added. They will find your compost pile naturally. 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, or mixed with garden soil for planting. You can even make compost tea to water indoor house plants.

Taking the Basics in Composting training is fun, easy and free. Register today and be ready for gardening in every season and help to increase soil resiliency.

For more information on composting or for help registering for the Master Composter Course, contact Eliza Hensel, Michigan State University Extension compost systems educator, at

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