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Hillsborough County residents encouraged to get hands dirty for compost class

Compost Happens is taught once a month for $5
Compost Happens Hillsborough.png
Posted at 8:25 AM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 15:45:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County is encouraging residents to get their hands a little dirty in 2022, literally, by trying out a compost bin in their own backyard.

Once a month Hillsborough County offers a class, Compost Happens. They’ll tell you what should go into the bin, what should go out of the bin, and how to turn your compost into rich, nutrient soil.

“Tomatoes, carrots, coffee grounds, all those things you forget about in your refrigerator,” said Lynn Barber, with Hillsborough County Extension, during a one-on-one session.

Consider Barber the professor of Composting 101.

“The county feels some responsibility for educating residents because composing is really important,” said Barber.

For only $5 a class, the county offers everything you need to know and provides the tools to take home, including a compost bin, compost bucket and thermometer.

“So that you know when your compost gets to a specific temperature you need to turn it, or you should add water, things like that,” said Barber.

Suzan Chin is a recent Compost Happens graduate and is proud of it.

“All these peels after I peel a fruit or vegetable and I’m cutting it and I’m throwing it in the garbage and I just have a hard time throwing things away and I just wanted to do something good with it,” said Chin.

The county even made a wheel of answers, for all your compost questions.

“So the temperature is under 90 degrees what should you do? Well you should add green materials,” said Barber. “Every solution is listed right there so all you have to do is dial it up.”

“What surprised me was nail clippings, I was like, ‘what,’ and you can put hair, pet hair, human hair, I was like, ‘wow I didn’t know that,’” said Chin.

If you can’t make the class in person, the county also offers it online. For more information, go to

“Watching them learn and grow and ask questions I can’t imagine a more rewarding career,” said Barber.