Composting is Cool! by Elizabeth Smith


Wednesday afternoon, 10 enthusiastic, 9 year old Boy Scouts from Pack 761 bounced into the garden to learn all about composting. The range of experience with gardening and composting was varied, so I started with some simple questions, “How many of you like to compost?” A few hands went up. “How many of you like to dig in the dirt?” More hands went up. “How many of you like to find earthworms?” Almost every hand shot up this time as excited voices asked if we had earthworms and would we actually get to see any. “Wait and see!” I said with a smile.

But first, we needed to go over the basics.  The kids learned that fertile, rich compost is some of the very best food you can feed your plants and trees. They also learned that compost can be anything that once was living and that the term for this is “biodegradable.” They were surprised to learn that almost half (40%) of the trash in our homes is biodegradable and that all plants and trees could benefit from this useful trash if we made it into wonderful compost instead of sending it to our landfills.  Next, they learned about composting partners, which is anything that can break biodegradable material down into fertile compost. These partners include things like beneficial bacteria, yeast, and fungi and that these little guys are called “microbes” because it takes a microscope to see them.  They also learned that in the span of just 3 ½ hours, one microbe can multiply into 1 million microbes and everyone agreed that that’s a lot of compost makers! And finally they learned firsthand that earthworms are the most fun composting partners of them all not just because they create even more fertility than regular compost, or because every day they can eat half their weight in rotten apples, banana peels and dryer lint, but mostly because they are wiggly, slimy, gross and all around cool!

Mark your calendar for our 4th annual Rita Ranch Garden Tour on Saturday, October 29th from 10 am- 3 pm (see The Vail Voice Online Calendar for details). For more information on all of our fun gardening events, go to,, email or call 520-591-2255.

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