The Sustainable Landscapes Program promotes living soils with a balanced composition of microorganisms and inorganic elements. Plants thrive in living soils, which hold on to rainwater when it is available. Read on below for information on how to obtain compost and mulch to help enhance your landscape.
Compost: Good compost brings oxygen, water and life in one package. When compost looks like soil, it can be worked directly into the soil. As it decomposes in the soil, it encourages the formation of macro-aggregates, which bind existing soil particles and decomposed organic matter. This combination creates a more stable and better functioning soil structure.
Mulch: The SLP promotes the use of organic mulch to cover the soil. Mulch always stays on top of the soil, and is never worked in. It often looks like the recycled debris that it is. The microbes in healthy, biologically diverse mulch “knit” the organic matter together, forming a thick blanket. This cover protects the soil and plant roots from temperature change, keeps moisture in by slowing evaporation and keeps weeds from sprouting by reducing sunlight penetration.
How much do you need?
These materials are available in bags from retail establishments, or in bulk from local producers. Add 2 inches of compost to improve the water-holding capacity of soil. Maintain 3 inches of mulch on planting beds at all times. Keep mulch up to 6 inches away from the stems of plants. On all soil exposed to rain and runoff, including planting areas but not including walkways and cement or other patios, amend the soil with compost and then cover the bare soil with mulch. Download the calculator tool to help figure out the amount of materials you will need.
Where to Get Landscape Materials
(Discounts may be available!)
The SLP is working with providers to increase public access to these vital landscape resources. Through the Association of Compost Producers and the Surfrider Foundation, participants may take advantage of discounted pricing at select locations including AgriService (Oceanside and Otay), the City of San Diego’s Greenery at Miramar Landfill, and Grangetto’s (Escondido). Download the flyer below for locations and promotional details.