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i got mulch in San Pedro

April 11, 2012

Mulch is very important in the garden. Placed properly it prevents water from evaporating out of the soil, suppresses weeds, helps prevent plant infection, enriches the soil and can make your garden more attractive. We use a lot of mulch at my house, but i NEVER buy it – I get it for FREE ๐Ÿ™‚

ยฟQuรฉ dijiste?!

I said free fool :9

See many cities and counties have programs to collect yard waste which they turn into compost or mulch. Mulch is pretty much just rough compost, or will be anyway. And they give it back to residents free or nearly free. I get mine from the City of LA San Pedro pickup. It’s great, you go down, bring your own shovel, bags, buckets, etc. and take as much as you want. Landscapers come and take entire truck beds full.

So anyway, San Pedro, it’s at 1400 N Gaffey Street. The first time I went there we had a little trouble finding the place, it’s just south of the T intersection with Gatun Street and across from the Y&S Auto Body Shop. It really lacks street front signage, looks like this:

Don’t worry, that Private Property sign is only about the train tracks, you’re free to cross over them. Speaking of that, after your turn in from Gaffey do make sure to stop and look both ways at the track ’cause there’s no crossing arms and you are responsible for not getting hit by a train. For real for real. So after you survive the track crossing you will come to this signage:

What is this? Free mulch… AND a S.A.F.E. collection AND community gardens?! Yes, don’t overwhelm yourself now. Oh, and not pictured but there’s also an RV dump station to the right. The gardens here are pretty crazy, from the street it just looks like an overgrown hillside. Closer up you see the fenced divisions and plant supports. The sign calls it the San Pedro Year Round Gardens, but a Google search with that term brought up nothing. I did find it reported as the Gaffey Street Gardens on Curbed who voted it best urban maze.

It sure does seem like a labyrinth up there. One day I shall explore it.

So heading left you go a bit down a road past the SAFE hazardous waste collection and right past it on the left is the mulch yard. If you go early on a Saturday you will find a gorgeous steaming pile of mulch ๐Ÿ™‚ Literally steaming, start shoveling and tell me I’m wrong :9 Back your vehicle up to the pile and have at it (if there’s room, sometimes there’s enough trucks there you have to wait for a turn). Oh and yes disclaimer, it has a certain… aroma. No, not a stench. I don’t know how to explain it really. It is not quite pleasant, but it is not awful. You will get used to it, and it will go away after you’ve spread it in the yard.

I may have gotten a bit carried away with the free and the visions of a green jungle sprouting from the yard…

yeah, that’s about a third of the truck bed piled almost to the brim. If you’re moving mulch loose in a truck like this might I recommend a tarp?

The people driving behind you on the freeway will appreciate it ๐Ÿ˜‰

On my way out I drove through the S.A.F.E. collection. Look it up, get rid of your hazardous waste the legit way people. Got rid of a few month’s accumulation of motor oil, used hearing aid batteries and the bounty from my bathroom greening and pesticides from a garage purge (Grumpy won’t even notice they’re gone… unless he ever learns to use the interwebs, that is). It’s nice, you just drive through and the guys unload your hazardous waste for you. It’s kinda odd driving on a plastic tarp though. They also take electronic waste and old appliances for recycling and scrap.

Then twas back home to put the mulch to work. The avocado tree was first by the official decree of the Grumpy

Mulch turns that dry unsightly earth into this:

Much better. Da’s roses also got their dose

The sticks? They are long wooden skewers from the dollar store, we call them Contra Gata.

And at the end of a long long loooong morning – one avocado tree, 7 rose bushes, 7 – 5 gallon buckets (pallet planter soil mix), 2 buckets in the compost and a 2 cubic foot bag reserve stash later… I still had this:

Aw crab, and that was also after mulching all my container plants too! Yep, a bit excessive in my mulch pickup. That’s ok, it gave me a chance to make nice with the neighbors on each side. I offered it up and in fifteen minutes it was all gone ๐Ÿ™‚ And they both said they had been about to go buy some! Also, neither had any clue there was free mulch. I’m printing flyers from the city website and taking it to them this week.

  • more water efficient garden – Check
  • done on the cheap – Check
  • bonus points with the neighbors – Check

Not a bad way to pass a Saturday morning ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. And remember children, if you turn right at the signage and go up the hill, you’ll find the horse manure pile. Also free for the taking.

    • yes, one day I will have enough will to try that… although I’m wary of those ‘horse weeds’ that might pop up :Z

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