Compost Seminar on Saturday

Posted by:Maryann Lemon in Horticulture, Miami Beach

Join us for a Composting Workshop Saturday, July 8th, 10:00 am! 

Fertile Earth Foundation’s Melissa Selem will lead an interactive seminar on the basics of composting and its many benefits.  We'll walk over to Miami's 1st CompostHub on site at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.  You’ll see first-hand the various stages of compost and practice identifying some of the critters that help make compost happen. If you want to get your hands dirty you can help turn the piles.

Read on for an interview with Melissa about composting.  

Is compost just a fancy name for dirt? 

Compost is like dirt, but much more fertile and full of nutrients because it comes from decomposed organic matter, like food scraps, paper, and dried leaves. Compost made in a system with worms is called vermiculture and it's one of the best fertilizers on the planet.

​Tell us three good reasons why people should try composting 

​1. ​ If you hate the idea of waste, then composting if for you. It will significantly reduce what you put in the trash.

2. By composting you're helping rebuild depleted local soil. Returning nutrients to the soil helps your plants thrive.

3. Seeing food scraps transform into soil is a process everyone should witness at least once. It truly is magical.

How did you get involved in composting?  

​ I was exploring ways to live more sustainably. I was always big on recycling but it felt limited. At a seminar I attended the speaker talked about all the ways she minimizes her waste and she mentioned composting among them. It was a new idea for me and I had to know more  I reached out to her, and she invited me to her home - this was a small town and people were very friendly. At her home she showed me her impressive compost pile along with a beautiful vegetable garden in the backyard. The idea of recycling my own food with no waste was a game changer for me. I was hooked and started on a new path.

What can I put in my compost pile?

Technically, anything that was once living can be composted, even items like cotton clothing and leather boots. Those are hard to break down, so for most home gardens, its best to stick to the simple stuff: food scraps (excluding meat, dairy, and bones), shredded unbleached paper, torn cardboard, dried leaves and spent flowers.

Where can I get compost in Miami Beach?

​Fertile Earth and ​Miami Beach Botanical Garden both maintain a compost pile. At the garden you can bring your scraps around the back at our staff entrance. I​f finished compost is available, you can take a bag home for free. 

How do I keep the compost from smelling back and attracting pests?

In  South Florida we have lots of nuisance critters like raccoons. You can reduce odors  and discourage pests  by composting the right way. The most common mistake is including too many “greens”  and not enough “browns” in the  compost, and failing to get enough air circulating. At the seminar we'll show you how to  get the right balance of nitrogen rich "greens" (mainly food scraps) and "browns" or carbon based material such as dry leaves and shredded bark and newspaper. Layered correctly, these materials will be less smelly and discourage pests. 

I live in a condo. Can I still compost?

Absolutely! We'll show you some options at our seminar! 

​Hint: it involves worms!​

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