Tag Archives: compost frugal

Cheap Alternatives to Expensive Mulch

The Portland Tribune reports that Bark dust prices bite gardeners.

“Bark dust — the landscaper’s finish coat — is now selling for roughly $232 per unit (which is 7.4 yards, or about two and a half pickup loads), up 62 percent from last spring.

Bark, a byproduct of lumber milling, is in short supply because of the dramatic housing slump. Reduced demand for lumber translates to idle mills and less bark.”

Luckily there are lots of cheap alternative to buying bark. In Sacramento SMUD, the local power company collects all the trimmings from their work keeping power lines safe and supplies gardeners with free wood chips.

Even if your city doesn’t produce anything similar you can call local tree trimmers and ask them if they have an extra load wood chips they would like to get rid of. Often it cost them to get rid of the stuff so you are doing them a favor. You might think you don’t need an entire truck load of wood chips, but a thick layer of mulch is the best thing you can do for your garden. It keeps your soil cool and moist during these long Western summers.

Compost, either homemade or municipal is another great alternative. Davis, my home town offers free compost, made from local green waste twice a year. Residents have to shovel and transport the stuff back to their own gardens, but with a little planning local gardeners are able to get a few large bags or a trunk full each April and October.

If you live in San Francisco, then you can participate in their groundbreaking municipal composting program. Residents and restaurants compost food and yard waste and it all gets processed in a huge facility near Vacaville. The resulting compost can only be bought from Jepson Prairie Organics if you are a wholesaler. Technorati Tags: , , ,