Interested in learning how to turn food scraps and yard trimmings into compost for healthier, nutrient-rich soil for your garden, lawn or even houseplants? Then register now to become a Vermont Master Composter.

Classes will be held for four consecutive Thursdays, beginning Oct. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Vermont Interactive Technology sites in Lyndonville and Newport. The course is sponsored by the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Master Gardener program with funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

Registration is $40 and includes a copy of the Vermont Master Composter Resource Manual. The deadline to register is Oct. 5. A late fee will be charged after that date. Space is limited, so early registration is recommended.

To register, call 802-656-9562 or download a registration form at www.uvm.edu/mastergardener. Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should call this number by Sept. 20. Confirmation of class site and directions will be sent upon receipt of registration and payment.

The course will cover a range of topics including the biology of composting, worm composting, "recipe" design, compost use for disease control, site and container selection, management of the compost process, troubleshooting and educational outreach and partnership opportunities. Instructors are professionals in Vermont's green industry.

In addition to learning how to make their own compost, participants will be qualified to provide information to others through talks and displays at fairs, farmers' markets and other outlets. They also will be able to assist with UVM Extension Master Gardener projects that have a composting component.

Although not required, upon successful completion of the course, students may volunteer for community or school composting projects in order to become a certified Vermont Master Composter. A total of 20 volunteer hours, completed within a two-year period, is needed to earn certification. Interns will receive support and guidance from the UVM Extension Home Horticulture Program.

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