Emergency Compost!

germainSeptember 18, 2005

I just moved into a new apartment with a sidewalk planting strip and flower bed. The problem is the soil is teh worst I ahve ever seen, grey, hard, rocky subsoil with only old tissues and cigarette butts for organic material. I'd like to plant it this spring but need to add some compost ASAP. I live in Seattle, have only a small hatchback so hauling large amounts is not possible. Any suggestions for sources of compost/ compostables/ soil additions I can add? I guess I don't have to explain on this forum that the key word here is FREE.

I've already gathered a few large bags of wild peas and dug them in. I'm also looking actively for a source of horse poo. I also have a worm bin but I killed off the worms somehow ( see post in vermiculture forum)(Sorry, no humanuer allowed here). Any ideas? Thanks! I'm happy to find this forum.

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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Why not make a sheet compost/lasagna bed. You have plenty of time to make one. By spring you'll have a beautiful bed to plant. Lay several sheets of newspapers or cardboards over the entire area. Wet down the paper, pile on any organic materials you can gather. The link below will give you a list of OM to use in making compost. Corrugated cardboards work well too. Poeple don't think they'll disintegrate, but they do in fact faster than newspapers.

This will be asolutely free and not labor instensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lasagna bed/sheet compost/interbay mulch

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 8:53PM
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Thats a great idea! Now, where to get the goodies! And keep out the racoons! Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 9:39PM
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coffee grounds? You can probably get lots of them over there for free and the worms love them.
Jeannie from Spokane

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 3:10PM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

Check with your city/county/township. Organic material is a no no in most landfills these days so many communities now make compost (and wood chips and firewood) for residents for free or at a subsidized cost. Where I live there is a never ending mountain of compost 265 days a year that is free for the hauling. I just fill up trash cans and load them into the car.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 3:20PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Also watch for bagged grass clipping and leaves that people left on the curb for pick up. Use your own fruit & vegetable scraps as well. How about shredded paper from work? Halloween and Thanksgiving are comimg up. Watch for strawbales & pumpkins & corn stalks that people discard after the holidays.

Have fun dumpster diving. :-)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 10:22PM
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suzieh(z9 Altadena CA)

Post "WANTED" or search your local freecycle.com and craigslist.com for bunny manure, compost, etc.

It's not free, but some on my California gardening group on Yahoo have had good results from Super Soil brand compost from Home Depot. I am planning on giving it a try.

Sorry about your wormies :0(

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 2:07AM
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bruggirl100(z9 FL)

You should be able to get lots of leaves here shortly. Best kind of layered compost there is! Layer them with soil and next spring, instant lovely loamy soil!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 12:49PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

Keep several bags of leaves in reserve for the top layer. Every time you have any vegetable garbage (or good finds), tuck it under the top layer on the ground, and patch any unsightly spots with the extra leaves.
I turned a patch of blue and yellow, greasy-feeling, unmitigated clay into good garden soil in less than one year in Cincinnati. We took out the previous owner's china/glass/metal trash as bits of it surfaced, and had two-story tomatoes (really!) in the second season.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 10:51PM
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