Composting & Soil Building Classes

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 2015 (Community Hall upstairs, 4418 Bedwell Harbour Rd, Pender Island)

11:00 am – Composting Basics (for homes & small growers) – see summary & slides

1:00 pm – Soil & Soil Building (“Really Important Tiny Lives”) – see factsheet

TEACHER:  Alysha Punnett, from the Victoria Compost Education Centre (*see PHOTOS below from the January 17 Pender class)

REGISTRATION:  To help us plan and set-up, please pre-register if you can (by emailing info@heartwoodfolkschool.ca or calling 250-629-3825).  Then each class is $5 payable at the door ($10 for both classes).  Please come a bit early to pay, and remember that Heartwood is a non-profit society, so we appreciate your support!  Children or youth with a parent, or adults on a tight budget, are welcome for free.

FIRST CLASS:  From 11:00 am to 12:30 is a class on COMPOSTING BASICS, for homes or small food growers who’d like to handle their own kitchen scraps, leaves, etc.  This includes using small outdoor units like an Earth Machine Composter to create soil, and/or a Green Cone Digester, which can handle other compostable wastes (e.g. meat, dairy) that can’t be put in your regular backyard compost.  See sample units sold in bulk by the Victoria Compost Education Centre to Pender Recycling, for resale to Penderites on a non-profit basis.  Recycling will kindly bring Earth Machine and Green Cone units to view at the class.

UPDATE / DO-IT-YOURSELF:  The latest news from the Compost Education Centre is that home-made digesters for meat, dairy etc. (e.g. from re-purposed garbage cans) are not proving to work as well as the Green Cone.  However, for regular composting of most kitchen scraps, leaves, etc., people can construct do-it-yourself composting set-ups that work fairly well (e.g. from used wooden pallets and 1/4″ wire mesh, to keep out rodents).

Also, do-it-yourself Bokashi fermenting/composting is another cost-effective possibility for all kinds of kitchen scraps including meat, dairy etc. (see more at D-I-Y Bokashi sites here and here).  Another new/old idea: what if composting was too much for one individual, but they could cooperate on this with neighbours? (e.g. sharing a composting set-up).

SECOND CLASS:  Starting at 1:00 pm is the Compost Education Centre class on SOIL & SOIL-BUILDING, for food growing and in a broader sense.  This includes the amazing microbial life in soil, strategies to encourage it (e.g. sheet mulching), good individual composting techniques on various scales, soil stewardship, and more.  Note: This class is not intended to discuss compost pick-up services and large-scale commercial composting, which could help folks not able or willing to compost at home.

REFERENCES:  See here for useful CRD references to help with the January 1, 2015 deadline, after which Hartland Landfill will not accept kitchen scraps.  The Victoria Compost Education Centre website also has great fact sheets, and they teach classes at various levels, to help you figure out what will work for you!

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