Is municipal compost safe for starting a no-dig garden?

by Susan

Hi, I am planning to start a no dig garden in my allotment, which has been in use 10-20 years already and has been cleared for me to move in.

I can get cardboard for free, but the lucerne is really expensive and the nearby municipal dump is giving away compost. Is municipal compost safe? Can I use that instead?

It is now late autumn and my plan would be to cover all the ground with cardboard, then the beds with 2 inches of the pre-rotted compost. Would that work?

Comments for Is municipal compost safe for starting a no-dig garden?

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Nov 18, 2010
Avoid It!
by: Sue

I had a friend that got some "free" compost. It ruined her garden! So many people use herbicides now on their lawns. The compost may also have leaves/trimmings that harbor disease. I would try to find other sources of compost-preferably make your own!

Nov 22, 2010
Municipal compost for gardens
by: Greenie

Your plan is fine. Cardboard and compost would be an admiral way to develop a no dig garden.
My neighbor got some compost delivered recently. It was a scheme set up by the city landfil operators. It wasn't free, but the cost was better than buying bags from a plant center. He was suspicious that it wasn't pure compost and when we all had a good close-up look at it, we were convinced they had added plain old soil to the compost. His vegs grew alright, nothing special, and no setbacks and no weeds, so even if they had added soil from the surrounding area, they must have put it through a soil sterilization process or dug it from deep down. That was our theory anyway. The compost was not a rich dark load, so we think they did 'water down the wine' a bit.

Nov 22, 2010
try it out anyway
by: John

Hi Sue,
A neighbour of mine got compost from the municipal recycling centre and it caused a lot of problems for them! There was wire worm in there and destroyed much of their root crops. I think that it is no harm trying it out on a smaller patch (start small anyway), and if that is ok, then go back for more. Grow potatos as your first crop, they will help with any compaction in the soil that you will mulch on, and they are good soil detoxifiers... hey to free stuff.. goodluck

Nov 27, 2010
my new garden
by: ronnie

hi john, i am starting a new garden this year, i try to follow all your hints on makeing one , i put in cardboard, leaves, tablescraps, old dried wood , worms, grassclippings,fireplace ashes, everything but my couch and tv. a old farmer told me once put back in the ground what you take out. am i doing ok with what i,m doing, and when is it enough putting in before i have to much added.

thanks john

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