This morning as part of #twitter4vg Tuesday chatting, @scoutsigns mentioned that he was looking for inexpensive dirt to use in his raised beds. In my opinion, the cheapest route involves compost.
Some options off the top of my head:
1. Make your own compost. This requires advanced planning, but it’s a good place to start. As it happens, @suburban_farmer has a new book coming out in May on that very topic. If you just can’t wait, look up the term “compost” on Google or check your local library.
2. Look for free compost from your city. Some communities create compost out of material (leaves, grass clippings) collected by their parks department. Make some calls and see what happens.
3. Place an ad on Craig’s List or check out TonsofDirt.com. Maybe someone has too much dirt on their hands? It’s a long shot, but if you don’t ask, you can’t receive. A word of warning, however. You’ll want to investigate what’s in the soil (ex., you want “clean soil” free of any hazardous chemicals) before you commit to using it in your garden.
4. Take an alternate route. No dig gardens require less soil up front, although you will want to add compost over time.