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Become a master gardener

The Master Gardener program operates through the UC Extension at Davis'

however, each county has an office that runs the programs in its area. 

To find out how YOU can become a Master Gardener in your area,

please click the link below.


Applications for the 2021 UC Master Gardener Training Program are now closed. Applications for our Spring 2022 Training Program will open mid-November 2021. If you'd like to receive an announcement about it, please sign up for our elist here.

Tropical Leaves

Long Beach Environmental Services composting class

Composting the University of California way

Compost  Decomposed organic matter that can be used as a soil amendment (improves                       texture and adds beneficial micro-organisms)

Mulch      wood chips, bark, straw, stones and other materials put on top of soil to                                             suppress weed growth, maintain soil moisture and keep soil cooler in summer  and                           warmer in the  winter.  Organic mulch will slowly release nutrients as it decomposes.


To make compost:

Need 50-50 mix of greens and browns plus oxygen and water.

  • Greens (nitrogen) – still-green leaves, horse, cow or chicken manure, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, tea bags

  • Browns (carbons) – dried leaves, un-coated paper, some fireplaces ashes


Ideal Volume  one cubic yard in three-bin system – incoming, working and finished.  “Working” bin should be on earth (not hardscape). Easy to move when turning

  tumblers, stacks, electric composters


No: animal waste from meat-eaters, pine needles and palm leaves (too acidic and very slow to break down), processed wood, weeds, meat, cooked foods, enzymes or other additives, glossy or colored paper, diseased plants, oil, grease or fat


Layer and then moisten the green-brown mixture. Interior temp should read 160 degrees within 3 days.  Then “turn” the pile; that is, remix it. Do this for up to 8 weeks.

Balanced compost pile = no smell, flies, roaches, mice, rats or other unwanted

Normal release is carbon dioxide and water vapor only.


Problems and Fixes:

  • Ammonia/sulfur odor means fermentation taking place – mixture is packed to densely (not getting enough oxygen).

  • Musky smell – mixture is too wet; spread out to dry

  • Low Internal Temperatures – low green content; add more greens


Vermicomposting (worms) – Shaded, covered location; use red wigglers, moistened newsprint and leaves

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