Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Master Composter Series 2015!

A guest blog from Mary Dudley of the Civic Garden Center

Cincinnati has spent the past few months shivering but there are some areas in our yards that are literally steaming with activity!

If you have a compost pile outdoors (or inside) you are headed in the right direction for a sustainable planet. The Civic Garden Center is hosting a Master Composter series this March for all interested in learning more about this amazing process. The mission of this training series is to teach local gardeners, teachers and facility personnel advanced practices in composting so they can practice sustainable methods and share this information with the community.

This series includes 20 hours of intensive composting instruction. Tuesday evening lectures will cover the details of soil science, a variety of composting methods, strategies for overcoming challenges and how to share your knowledge with our local community. Evening lectures will be complemented by Saturday morning field study sessions. These morning sessions will introduce participants to large scale composting operations in the Cincinnati area.

The final piece to obtaining certification as a Master Composter is the completion of 30 volunteer hours in which participants pass on their knowledge and contribute to local composting projects.

A small fee of $30 includes 10 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours of field study experience and the opportunity to earn certification with perfect attendance and successful completion of 30 documented volunteer hours. Please note that this is an advanced course, some basic composting knowledge is expected.

There are two steps involved with signing up for the Master Composter series. One step is the completion of an application and pre-test which will be emailed to you (send initial email to The second step is to register for the course through our website (link below, just be scroll down to "March" and you'll see the link to register).

Tuesday evening lectures: March 10, 17, 24 & 31.
Saturday morning field study sessions: March 14, 21, 28 & April 4.

Don’t miss your chance to join this unique opportunity! Contact Mary Dudley at for more details. The last day to register is 3/13/15 by 5pm.

Class will be held annually so if you would like to be notified in the future send an email to

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Soil Regeneration Taught at Spring Composting Seminars

Dreaming of rich, dark, crumbling soil for your gardens and grass to grow big and strong? Well, 2015 is officially the International Year of Soil and we have a number of ways to help you achieve your goal.

If it’s the basics of composting you seek then our spring seminar “Get the Dirt on Backyard Composting” is for you as compost is that important ingredient that regenerates soil, as well as serving other purposes. We are asking blog readers who have attended our seminar to pass on this information to friends, family, and neighbors.
The eight locations are listed below. To get more information and register click here.
Date                                                 Community

March 25, (Wednesday)              Terrace Park

April 1, (Wednesday)                   Elmwood Place

April 8, (Wednesday)                   Green Township

April 14, (Tuesday)                       Springfield Township

April 29, (Wednesday)                 Northside

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Anderson Township

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Forest Park

May 19, (Tuesday)                        Sharonville

For those of you who have attended our one hour seminar on backyard composting, you may want to further your knowledge by attending the Civic Garden Center’s Master Composter series which begins March 10, 2015. Click here for more details.
Individuals preferring the arm chair-style of learning, a soil facts guide can be found here.
Spread the word: composting is trés chic!

written by guest blogger: Jenny

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mother Nature Can't Stop Me

As mothers, we should stick together. But jeez, Mother Nature, what's with the weather these days?!

Mother Nature and her cold, wind, and snow can't stop me from composting!

In the interest of full disclosure, this picture was taken last year during a snowy spell. But if we do get snow this weekend, you can be sure I'll still be taking out my food scraps to feed my compost bin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Winter Composting Inspiration

We could all use a little inspiration now and then. Here's a great winter composting video from a fellow composter.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Divine Winter Composting

Neither rain nor snow will stop the post office (most times), but it sure puts a damper on my backyard composting. These cold months don’t stop me from collecting fruit and vegetable scraps, but I don’t hike to the back 40 as often. I store my odds and ends in limbo for a time.
Limbo in my case happens to be the garage. Here the scraps can sit until I am ready to pull on my Wellies, zip up my parka and head out. Upon venturing out, I’m sure to have on a pair of work gloves so I can easily deposit the scraps and finish with a topcoat of shredded leaves.
Once leaving limbo, it’s agony having to wait in purgatory for spring to come. Finally when the weather warms, I can turn that pile and an inferno takes place, leaving me with hallowed ground- finished compost.  Ah paradise!

My apologies to Dante…
Dante Alighieri by Sandro Botticelli

Guest Blogger, Jenny

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Naughty and Nice List for Composting

All I want for Christmas is a well-balanced compost pile. We all know that fruit and veggie scraps from meal prep are great to add to your compost pile. Read on to find out if your favorite holiday items are on the composting naughty or nice list.

  • Goose. Does anyone actually serve Christmas goose? (Yuck.) No meat or bones should ever be put into your backyard compost.
  • Eggnog. Drink it all up because dairy does not belong in your compost pile.
  • Candy canes. Too much sugar is a bad thing. For you and your compost. Some candy can be composted but I would recommend burying in the pile and removing wrappers, of course.
  • Gingerbread houses. See above.
  • Figgy pudding – Don’t bring it right here.
  • Wrapping Paper. If the paper is sparkly, shiny, or otherwise embellished, leave it out of your compost bin.  Simple, old-fashioned, wrapping paper is fine for your compost bin or your recycling cart.

  • Chestnuts. Whether roasted on an open fire or not, nuts can be composted.
  • Carrots. Shame on Rudolph for not finishing his snack! That uneaten portion of a carrot can go in your compost bin.
  • Popcorn. You can pop any popcorn leftover from tree trimming into your compost bin.
  • Cookies. If Santa doesn't eat all of the goodies left for him on Christmas Eve, you can compost cookies too.
  • Sugar plums. Let them dance their way into your compost pile as long as they are more plum than sugar. Some sugar added to your compost pile will increase the population of helpful bacteria and speed up decomposition.
  • Mistletoe. After the kissing has commenced, mistletoe adds nitrogen to your compost pile.

Unless you plan on renting a chipper/ shredder from your local hardware store, Christmas trees will take way too long to decompose in your backyard. Bring them to one of our free yard trimmings drop off sites on Saturday, January 3 or Saturday, January 10. Find details on our website and be sure to watch this video on the Life Cycle of a Christmas Tree. 

So happy holidays, my composting friends! I hope your season is full of nitrogen and carbon and there is a shiny new pitchfork under the tree!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Top Ten Turkey Day Tips

Turkey Day is on its way (or Tofurkey Day if that’s how you roll) and all I can think about is food. Warm fresh dinner rolls, stuffing (my fav), and pumpkin pie (my other fav). Here is a list of the top ten tips for composting on the most food-centric holiday of the year.

10. Plan  Buy only the amount of food you need to eliminate waste in the first place.

9. Prep  Do most of your composting during food prep. All those potato peels, green bean stems, and egg shells are great material for compost. Use an extra-large bowl to collect all your food scraps.

8. Green Beans — Compost any leftover vegetable if it is not too covered in cheese or cream.

7. Potatoes — Can also go in the compost if they are not overly buttered up or covered in cheese. (If you have leftover cheesy potatoes- can I stop by your house on Thanksgiving?).


5. Leftover wine or beer — YES and YES.

4. Decorations — Do you have any adorable little pumpkins or festive gourds decorating your table? Any flowers, gourds and the like would be compostable. Leave out the tiny plastic pilgrims.

3. Turkey — NO. No giblets, gravy, meat or bones. No part of your turkey should be composted (unless it’s a Tofurkey!)

2. Pie — NO. Leftover pie?! There’s never been much leftover pie at my Thanksgiving dinners. But if there is at yours, it should not go in your compost bin. Too many eggs, butter and other (delicious) pie ingredients.
1. Give Away — Packaging up leftovers to send home with your guests is far better than composting. I recommend asking guests to bring their own containers or send leftovers home with guests in clean butter tubs or old take out containers.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!