5 Free Compost Boosters

Here are 5 free compost booster ideas you can use to build lots of healthy compost for your garden.

If you’re looking to boost the activity of your compost and get that lovely stuff decomposing a little faster, you don’t have to go buy some chicken manure. All you need to do is ask around, and you can find plenty of free materials to help build your compost, and get it going strong!

Be sure to be aware of the source of these materials, and use caution if you’re growing organically. You don’t want to taint your healthy organic garden with harmful lawn chemicals or other pollutants, so keep that in mind when sourcing your additions from these 5 sources.

Compost Booster #1 – Yard Waste

Just a couple of weeks ago, I scored 4 full paper yard waste bags. All it took was asking my neighbor down the street one simple question: “Hey, are you going to get rid of those”? He was confused for a split second, standing there with two arms wrapped around a full bag, probably thinking, “what the heck else am I going to do with this huge bag of trash”? But he knows I’m a plant nerd and an avid gardener, so it didn’t take him too long to figure it out. He helped me carry the bags to the compost pile in my back yard, instead of carrying them up to the curb in front of his house. In the end, he seemed happy that his yard waste didn’t go to waste.


Compost Booster #2 – Supermarket Waste

Some grocery stores will give you their past-date produce if you ask for it, but not all stores will go along with this. I’ve heard that some big chains have policies that say their employees can’t give away old produce, probably because of the legal liability that someone could get sick from eating it. So, you might have the best success asking at independent local markets and small regional chains.


Compost Booster #3 – Coffee Grounds

Just walk in to any coffee shop and ask nicely. I’ve been able to get spent coffee grounds from big national chains and from local shops – in the city and in the suburbs. Some people will probably get mad at me for mentioning this because they think I’m telling everyone about their secret stash. But in most places there are more than enough grounds to go around….

Definitely bring your own bucket for this trip, because the coffee house will probably give you the grounds in a big trash bag, and they will definitely be sloppy. We have a nice agreement with a coffee shop in our neighborhood where we drop off a clean empty 5 gallon bucket in the morning, and we pick it up full of grounds later the same day.

Compost Booster #4 – Hair

Some people might flinch at the idea of composting hair from strangers for their vegetable garden, but the crafty composter can find some big payloads at the neighborhood hair salon or barbershop. Just look at the floor next time you’re in there – it’s covered with so much hair that they have to keep sweeping it constantly. You might run in to some different rules and regulations depending on where you live and whom you ask…. But I know that some local shops will set hair aside for you if you ask for it. If there’s a pet grooming service in your neighborhood, that would be worth a try as well.

Compost Booster #5 – Urine

This one will be a little easier for the fellas – but with a jar or bottle, anyone can contribute their “spare nitrogen” to the compost pile. If you host a barbecue or an informal party – put a little sign in the bathroom and ask if the guys wouldn’t mind to pee on the compost pile instead. They can contribute if they’re comfortable with it….

You could even set up a little screen in front of the pile so that anyone with “stage fright” won’t be too worried about peeing in front of a crowd…

Check out the full article for more helpful tips at TheGrowNetwork.com


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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