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Florida Gardening 101: Where Can I Get Free Compost and Mulch?

Spring is busting out all over Florida, and minds and turning to gardening. Unfortunately, Florida has some of the worst soil in the world, so you are going to need some amendments. If you're like me, without a compost pile and can't afford to buy bagged compost, there is a free alternative that may be right down the street.

Free compost and mulch from Sarasota County has been a real boon for my garden the last few years. It is delivered to a local park once a week, and I have taken full advantage of it. Soil that was once barren is now rich, black, and crumbly. I use it for potting and building beds. It's great stuff!

Under Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, a branch of the UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping program, many counties provide free mulch and compost at locations thorughout the county. This is made from the yard waste picked up around the county during the year, and returned to the residents for use in their yards. While this isn't the highest quality compost, it's a great way to add organic matter to our sandy Florida soils. The mulch is not something you'd want to use for looks, but it's great for pathways, or weed control in large areas.

Using these free alternatives to bagged compost and mulch not only saves money, but saves our valuable old growth cypress trees, and frees up landfill space.

Call your county today and find out if they provide free compost and mulch for their residents. In some counties, even though the compost and mulch isn't free, it is sometimes sold for a very reasonable cost.


Florida Friendly Landscaping Site