Bernalillo County Extension Master Composter Program


Image of composting fork
Photo courtesy of Tom Nichols

Welcome to the Bernalillo County Master Composter website. The Master Composter organization provides basic composting classes for the general public and trains volunteers to teach these classes.

And remember ... when in drought, spread the compost out!

News and Announcements

You Can Help Support BCEMC via AmazonSmile

Our organization has signed up to benefit from the AmazonSmile program. If you shop at Amazon and specify Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters as your charity, a percentage of what you spend will be donated to BCEMC. It's very easy to set up. Please see our Donations page for the details. Your support of BCEMC is much appreciated.

Sign Up for Our New Mailing List

If you'd like to receive email about our longer workshops and master composter training you can sign up for our mailing list.

Master Composters in the News

Our very own John Zarola was interviewed about composting by KRQE News 13. Watch the video here.

Learn How Best to Compost in the Desert

Composting in New Mexico has its special challenges. Composting in the Desert is our newly updated flyer specifically about composting in our part of the world. Also see Desert Composting Recommendations. For teachers, these materials are available on our composting handouts page.

New Select a Method Flyer

There are a number of ways to compost. This flyer will help you decide.

Learn About Bokashi Composting

Have you heard about Bokashi composting? It's a method developed in Japan that is inexpensive, easy, takes up little space, has no smells, doesn't attract pests, and requires no turning. The method makes it hard to find an excuse not to compost your kitchen waste! You can compost all the kitchen scraps you normally compost as well as meat, bones, and oily things. Jill Van Nortwick recently gave a talk to BERNCO master composters about Bokashi composting. Check out these powerpoint slides from the talk. Or, if you prefer, here is a PDF copy of the slides. The slides include a video about Bokashi composting. The video is made by a commercial company but keep in mind that you can do Bokashi composting in ordinary buckets.

Herbicides Imprelis and Aminopyralid Can Contaminate Compost

Up till recently, herbicides commonly used in the home yard or garden did not contaminate compost since they break down in the composting process. However, the US Composting Council warns us about a new herbicide, Imprelis from DuPont, which can survive the composting process and harm plants which are later grown in the compost. Care should be taken to avoid putting plants which have been treated with Imprelis into compost. Please see article from the Composting Council for more information. In addition, the herbicide Aminopyralid marketed by Dow AgroSciences, bearing brand names including Milestone and Forefront, remains active in horse manure up to three years. See article from BioCycle magazine, The Aminopyralid Challenge Continues. Update: DuPont has announced that it plans to issue a total recall of Imprelis following widespread evidence and complaints that the product has caused the deaths of trees around the country. See report in Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog.

We Are

You can get to our site via the URL Master composters, please share it with your students. The URL,, works as well. Both will get you to the page you are on now.