Yea, and there is lots of it.
You can get totally free compost at this mushroom farm in Escondido.
Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
26948 N Broadway (at Bachelor Ln)
Escondido, CA 92026
So you don’t live nearby:
Ok, so perhaps you’re reading this and you are thinking to yourself…
Well, this is great for them… but I don’t live anywhere near that place.
If this applies to you then there is another option.
As it turns out, many (perhaps most) mushroom farms do this type of thing.
So, if you live in a place far far away from Escondido, just do some searching on the internet to see if there is a mushroom farm near you. If there is a fungus business nearby, in all likelihood they have lots of great compost that they would love to give away. It might be worth a quick search and a phone call to find out. In addition, many town/counties have dedicated centers for yard-waste and make their own compost and mulch for local residents to pick up.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure:
- The awesome compost (that they give away for free) is actually stuff that they can’t use because it represents spent mushroom food.
- Their ‘leftover’ compost is filled with lots of great organic material that most plants would love (worm casting, peat moss, manure, wood products). The flyer that I scanned-in at the end of this article provides details about the expected nutrient information from mushroom compost.
- After the mushrooms have done their thing, the leftover compost is piled up outside of their facility… Just waiting for someone like you.
- Note; I have heard that there might be a slightly higher level of salts in some compost due to the manure additives. Therefore, it might not be the best thing for a few select plants like Avocados.
How I use the free compost:
- I put the compost around the root zone of many of my fruit trees. The stuff gets muddy fast and absorbs well into sandy soil.
- I originally didn’t think that you could use this compost as primary planting soil. But I like to experiment… and I have tried it as the primary soil for veggies of all kinds. Turns out that and it works great as a primary soil at least for veggies.
- Below is a picture showing the harvest of just one day of picking from small garden boxes filled with nothing but mushroom compost. I pick veggies in this amount about every other day and I consistently get about this much food each time.
- Trying it for strawberries next.
How to get the free compost (a few recommendations):
- Call ahead to make sure they are open when you want to go.
- The facility asks that you sign in at their main office before you get started. It is very low key. The office is located just behind the large compost pile in the picture provided at the beginning of this article.
- This place is a bit out of the way so I strongly recommend that you map it out on Google or Mapquest before you leave. On my first trip out there, I used my GPS which put me on a wild goose chase. If you find yourself driving on dirt roads then you are going the wrong way.
What to bring with you to get the free compost:
- Bring containers to put the compost in, or get a pickup truck and fill it up. This is totally free.
- As an option, they will also load your truck with compost for a $25 fee (this was confirmed April 2016 which is the last time I was there). However, that optional loading assistance is only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In their flyer (scanned in and provided below) they recommend calling ahead to make sure that loading option is available.
- Bring a shovel if you are filling up yourself.
- Bring gloves and wear clothes you don’t like because this compost… well smells very ‘organic.’
- Another words, it stinks like a barnyard on a hot day.
- I have a bunch of other recommendations that I wrote about in a follow-up article. Please check out the tips for easy compost application article for more info.
- Pick a day with decent weather.
- The compost can be heavy and it’s hot out there. Therefore, pick a cool day or go early in the morning if you can.
- If it is raining, it will be a total muddy mess and the compost will be extra heavy. Therefore, if the weather is wet, consider going on another day.
Update: I scanned in their small info flyer:
- For your convenience, I have scanned in a small flyer they have available in their Mountain Meadow Mushrooms office.
- The flyer provides hours and service information (such as additional loading options on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- The flyer also provides the expected concentrations of various nutrients in their mushroom compost (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc). Even though this mushroom business is in Southern California, they have obtained this mushroom compost nutrient information from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and MushroomCompost.org.
- You can click on the flyer picture below to enlarge for easier reading.
More information about Mountain Meadow Mushrooms via Yelp.