Free Compost – even on Sunday!

I had never tried getting compost from the Shoreway Environmental Center, but I had cleared a lot of weeds and wanted to put down compost before more weeds came up. So this Sunday I grabbed some gloves and persuaded my husband to come along to get free compost from the center.

Because it was Sunday, I was afraid they might be closed. When I drove to the center and went into Gate 1, it did looked closed and abandoned. I almost gave up right then and there, but decided to drive around back and see what I could find. After following the “Public Vehicles” sign along the side of the building and turning left. I came to a kiosk with an attendant. When I asked about compost, he pointed me to the door to use. At that door, another attendant told me where to park to get the compost.

I parked with the hatchback near the compost and picked up our allotted two bags and a shovel. The bags are 3 cubic feet — much larger than the Lyngso bags, if you’re familiar with those. We only filled them about two-thirds full, because the rich-looking, “fragrant” compost was very heavy. It was also quite warm, even steaming.

One of the things I learned in a gardening class recently is that, because compost is finer that wood chips, you can use a thinner layer as mulch to reduce weeds. Where you might need 3-4 inches of wood chips, 1-2 inches of compost will block light from reaching the weed seeds, and helps reduce weeds.

After bringing home the bags, I spread the compost on bare soil around my roses and other plants. I’ll probably get more soon, for amending soil and mulching my containers.

If you go, I’d recommend Sunday — it’s less busy because the recycling drop-off is closed, and you can pick up your compost in next to no time. Bring gloves and a helper — the filled bags are heavy.

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