Bonanza in Town Compost Pile


For a penny pinching gardener, the town compost pile is it is like finding the lost city of gold with nary an Inca nor Mayan civilization destroyed in the process.


What people dig out and toss from their gardens is nothing short of amazing. Here is a glimpse at what seven trips brought in. This is from a few years ago, when I first started keeping a garden journal and recording my hauls.

I actually coded this T.D. for "town dump" in my garden journal because I was a bit embarrassed to let some random person that might someday scour my journal to know I "shopped" there. But as I'm now committed to helping others, I will share my best spot for garden loot;-)

  • July 10 - Silver King Artemesia (small), Lupine seeds (lots)

  • July 13 - Huge clump of iris (divided into five clumps around the yard),2 spirea bushes,allium seeds
    columbine seeds,1 fuchsia plant, very dry.

  • July 15 - 10 ferns, 3 stalks of white phlox (may not root), and 2 lily of the valley

  • July 17 - 4 big clumps of day lily (fine leaves so hopefully not the common orange ones), 1 big clump hardy geranium, 1 big clump spider wart

  • July 18 - Nada

  • July 19 - Some yarrow

  • August 13 - 27 Huge iris rhizomes, 17 small iris, 2 small bags of ferns and lily of the valley, 1 small hosta (white flower)

I now have over an acre of gardens (the first picture in this post is the view from my bedroom balcony) with over 30 large individual gardens, filled to the brim. It is fun now to look back at my garden journal and see how many of these plants subsequently multiplied and were further divided.

If your town has something like this (most do for grass clippings and then people bring in lots of other stuff from their yards) it is well worth checking out.

Will you be embarrassed? Yes. I've tried going all different times in the hopes of having the place to myself, from early in the morning to almost dark, when I needed my headlights on and worried about grabbing something slimy.


My best system is to bring a few things from my own yard as "cover". I make a big show of unloading whatever branches or weeds I've collected while quickly scanning the place. Then, I loiter and sometimes, the other cars leave and I feel like it's Christmas as I load up my mini-van with plant castoffs.

But sometimes, I've just had to blush and deal with it. I had some strange looks, and by the time my son is old enough to be in organized sports in this town, I'm not sure how he'll feel to have his mom known as stalking the town dump, but for now, I wear nondescript clothes, drive my nondescript beige mini-van and treasure hunt at will;-).

Happy garden treasure seeking.


By Eileen from Wisconsin

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September 3, 20090 found this helpful

Don't be embarrassed, you are my hero. My husband usually goes to the dump, so I didn't know there were such riches. Don't let other people concern you, it's their problem if they aren't as smart as you. :).

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