Too good to be true
07/18/2012 in gardening
Freebies for the garden
At the risk of offending your local garden supply center, I’m going to let you in on a secret…
When we’re getting the mulch and compost free, there’s some extra money for those cool new cultivars.
A pile of mulch is a good thing to have
Woodchips block sunlight from germinating those weed seeds…
Mulch also prevents the sun from burning the organic material out of the soil, and helps the soil to retain moisture and tilth.
Eventually the wood chips add nutrients back to the soil, and build humus.
Purchasing wood chips by the bag, or even by the truckload can run into some real money, and cause us to try to get by without.
This isn’t necessary.
As the video demonstrates, all that is really needed is a place for the pile, and we can get the chips delivered for almost nothing.
if the video doesn’t play, visit this link:
There are a number of links to providers of free woodchips/mulch in the Atlanta area on the above link, it’s probably worth visiting just for those.
Relevant text of video:
Mary Jo Paris is spending a lot of time making her landscaping look beautiful. But she’s not spending a lot of money. She gets a huge pile of wood chips, absolutely free.
“There were a couple of trees being taken down in the neighborhood and the tree removal service came by and they were canvassing for places to be able to dump it. I happened to be home so I said sure; I’d love to have some mulch. It helps them not have to pay to remove it and I get some free mulch,” said Mary Jo Paris.
Paris estimates that she’s saved hundreds of dollars. And you can do the same thing. An internet search shows several companies in metro Atlanta offer free wood chips.
But be prepared to wait until a tree service company is working in your area. And you’ll need to have a lot of room for a whole truck load of wood chips. You’ll need to have somewhere to keep it or have lots of friends who want to share. Paris also suggests sharing another popular mulch material: pine straw. Just ask neighbors who have more than they need.
Also visit this link for additional mulch resources in middle Georgia:
While the video suggests searching “wood-chips”, “free mulch”, you shouldn’t stop there, I’ve gotten very good results by searching “tree service”, and found people that hadn’t yet made the connection that their chips were a desirable commodity.
Besides using the internet, I’ve followed the woodchip trucks around until they stopped…
Have a favorite method for getting these great freebies? tell us!
Searching “stables” and “horses boarded” can produce valuable leads. Adding the name of your town provides more focused results.
I’ve found that talking to people at one stable often produces leads to several other stables. Horse people know each other, through visits to the vet, and going to barrel races and rodeos, bridal trails.
While I usually end up loading the manure myself, some stables have a loader and may offer to load your truck.
I haven’t ever found anyone to deliver the poop inexpensively, so… you’re gonna need a pick-em-up truck.
Cindy asked: Do the chips need to “season” before you put them on the beds? I know you have to let sawdust age, right?
Donna said: WAIT to use the wood chips. Freshly cut and deposited on the garden, the decomposition of the chips draws much nitrogen from the soil in processing the chips.
My experience is that I can use wood chips as a mulch as soon as they are delivered,
Wood chips are great in the perennial bed, in tree islands, and around the shrub border.
Wood chips are less than ideal on the vegetable garden. Hay is much better in the vegetable garden… but woodchips can be used for weed suppression and moisture retention when it’s the chips or nothing… I’d avoid turning them under for a year or two.
In Georgia, sawdust is often added to the ‘barn-scrapings’, to absorb urine, and to help contain the smell.
The sawdust takes a while to break down and can absorb nitrogen away from the garden plants if used fresh. Fresh horse manure is better used as a mulch…
I discuss the importance of adding soil amendments to the garden in some detail on my soil page.
Do you have a favorite gardening freebie? I’d love to hear about it!