Sometimes being a good shopper is knowing what you can actually get for free.
So, here's a deal for the savvy gardener -- free mulch. Well, it's only free to Albany residents. For everyone else, it's still a pretty good deal.
The mulch is from Albany's Department of General Services. It's not fancy (what you see is what you get, no black or red mulch) -- it's chipped from wood that's been collected throughout the city, including old Christmas trees. To my average consumer's eye it looks comparable to the stuff my better half picks up at the big home and gardening stores.
This is totally a do-it yourself operation. You drive right to the dead end of Erie Blvd. and help yourself to the pile. You can take up to 5 five-gallon buckets at a time (depending on availability). You do need to bring your own buckets and shovel -- you can't just drive up with a tarp in the trunk or something.
The hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 - noon and 12:30-2:30.
If you don't live in the city of Albany, you can buy mulch for $10/cubic yard at the DGS' main office, just down the street (more information).
There's also free compost available (from collected brush, leaves, and grass clippings) but from what I saw, unless you get there when there's a fresh pile, you'll have to sift through some debris to get the good stuff. The conditions for compost are the same as for mulch, a limit of 5 five-gallon buckets at a time with your bucket and shovel.
The City of Albany’s Compost Facility- Department of General Services
1 Richard J. Conner's Blvd.
Albany , NY 12204
Phone (518) 434-2489
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