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Home Gardeners School @Home Presents

Composting and Good Soils


Course Code: AH0204WA20

Photo of food scraps being emptied into a compost container.

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Date & Time

Last Held: May 13, 2020
1:00pm - 2:00pm EST
Please join the online course at 12:45pm EST (15 minutes before the start time).

View upcoming Home Gardeners School @Home online workshops.


Backyard composting is a simple and effective way to reduce waste, minimize greenhouse gas production, and create a valuable soil amendment for healthier plants and better yields in your garden. In our NEW online course, learn basic soil science and the essentials of composting.

Topics Include:

  • Soil Science 101
  • How to optimize soil health
  • The 5 Essentials of Composting: Carbon/Nitrogen, Volume, Moisture, Aeration, and Surface Area
  • Types of compost bins and location considerations
  • Tools you'll need
  • What you can and can't compost
  • Tips for creating compost quickly
  • Composting with worms
  • Uses for finished compost: Top dressing, potting mix, soil incorporation, and more
  • How to make compost tea (the best way to get the most out of a little bit of compost!)

Your instructor, Virginia Lamb, is an environmental educator with over 25 years of experience in recycling, composting, soil health, and organic gardening. First, she will take you through the science and logistics of soil health and starting your own backyard compost step by step. Then, she will take time to answer any of your specific questions.

Plus, you will leave with a resource packet including some Rutgers Cooperative Extension fact sheets, a composting checklist, and a list of helpful websites. This is a valuable resource that you'll be able to refer to throughout your gardening future. Register today!

Meet the Instructor

Photo of Virginia Lamb, Composting and Good Soils online course instructor.Virginia Lamb

Instructor Virginia Lamb of Groundwork Education and Consulting is an Environmental Educator with over 25 years of experience in recycling, composting, soil health, and organic gardening. She has a BA in Environmental Studies from Stockton University, and in 2019 received her MS in Soil Science from UMass Amherst. Virginia worked as recycling coordinator for many years for Galloway Township and Monmouth County, NJ and has been a freelance educator/consultant since 2000. Her clients include Rutgers University, Footprint Power, Honey Brook Organic Farm, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DeFeo Associates, and many municipal environmental groups and garden clubs throughout the region.  Virginia is a member of the NJ Composting Council and lives with her family in Maplewood, NJ.

Why Compost?

Photo of hands holding an assortment of vegetables just harvested from a garden.Up Your Garden Game by Composting

In this course, you'll learn how to transform your leaves, newspaper, kitchen scraps, and lawn clippings into organic, nutrient-rich "black gold!" Using finished compost in your garden improves soil health, conserves moisture, fuels microbial activity (making minerals available to plants), suppresses pathogens (reducing plant diseases), neutralizes soil pH (increasing nutrient availability), and increases the soil's ability to store carbon (reducing greenhouse gases). Better soil means healthier plants. See the difference this spring!

Graphic of recycling symbol in a heart shape.Start a Compost Pile and Be the Change You Want to See

In the United States, the average person produces 4.3 pounds of waste per day. According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste make up more than 28 percent of that waste. In a landfill, those scraps produce methane. Closing the loop with your own household food scraps is a way that you can actively and substantially reduce those numbers. Composting allows soil to sequester carbon, reducing greenhouse gases emissions and slowing climate change. One backyard compost pile can be a big step towards living more sustainably.


This online composting class has been approved for the following credits:

NJ Certified Recycling Professionals (CRPs): 1 Clasroom Credit (please save proof that you completed the post-class evaluation to submit with your recertification form)

Registration Fee TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


No meals will be provided at this course.

Accessing this Online Course (It's Easier Than You Think)

Don't worry, taking an online course is more user-friendly than ever. Once you've registered, you will receive a link via email 48 hours before the start of the course. Simply click that link and follow the prompts to allow WebEx on your computer, tablet, or iPhone. No microphones or webcams are necessary. If you do not have a microphone on your computer, you will have the option to dial in using a regular telephone to hear the course audio while viewing the course visuals on your device.

New to online learning? No problem! We will be sending out a document with helpful how-to tips for using WebEx to all registrants a few days before the course. Plus, join the class a few minutes early at 12:45pm EST to get comfortable with the platform and see how you can utilize the chat feature to ask questions throughout the course.

Program Coordinator Olga Welsh will be moderating the class and she will be able to assist participants, answer questions, and troubleshoot in case you experience any issues.

Note: Pre-registration with payment is required.

We're Here to Help!

Please feel free to reach out to Olga Welsh, program coordinator for this class, at any time with questions! We want to make this a fun, informative, and interactive experience for all participants and are eager to help you in any way we can.

Email: ow31@njaes.rutgers.edu
Phone: 848-932-7315


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified about future classes? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Home Gardeners School @Home: Composting and Good Soils" or Course Code AH0204) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu