Free (or very cheap) Resources for Gardeners

This list is provided in good faith but My Smart Garden cannot guarantee the availability or quality of these resources.

We are on the lookout for free resources for gardeners in Melbourne’s West! Do you know where to find clean sawdust and wood shavings (no treated timber, paint or varnish), coffee bean husks or spent grounds, animal manures, wood ash, cardboard or newspaper? Please get in touch.

Mulch and compost

Free mulch and compost is periodically available at the Moonee Valley Transfer Station – see information under ‘Transfer fees’ heading. You can also try applying for free mulch on MulchNet.

Please note that woody mulch can cause nutritional deficiencies in vegetables and is best suited to trees and shrubs.

Deciduous street tree leaves (e.g. Plane and elm trees - not eucalyptus) can provide an excellent and sustainable source of soft mulch, suitable for vegetables or fruit trees.

Seaweed

You can now collect seaweed from the Hobsons Bay foreshore without a permit. In small quantities this is a useful garden mulch that provides many micronutrients

Horse manure

Williamstown Horse & Pony Club has a steady supply of horse manure from their paddocks at Cnr Millers and Kororoit Creek Rds that is offered free to local community groups. The manure is in piles that can be bagged, or loaded directly onto a ute/trailer. Gardeners should be aware that horses are wormed every 3 months. For enquiries or to arrange collection please contact secretary.whpc@gmail.com, or feel free to drop in on weekends, or week days after 4:30pm. Please note that manure sales are an important fundraiser for the Club so there is a small charge for individuals.

Soil contaminant testing

Gardeners around Australia can access a very affordable soil testing service for common soil metal contaminants (in particular lead) through VegeSafe at Macquarie University

Preserving equipment

Seabrook Community Centre has a Fowlers Vacola Preserving Unit for hire (for bottling fruit, tomatoes etc)

Seeds and plants

Food swaps are also great places to access free seeds and plants. You can swap your surplus produce, seeds, worm juice, clean jars (for preserves) etc for plants or produce. See a list of local food swaps

Bug identification

What’s that critter in your garden? Museum Victoria has an excellent free Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app, but if you’re still unsure you can submit a high quality photo.

Grants

Do you have a community project that could use a grant? Councils have various grant funds that you may be eligible to receive. Please contact us with your location and a short description of your project, or check the website of your local council

Garden design and implementation

Do you need help planning and setting up your garden? If you go along to a few Permablitzes, then you qualify to receive a free design and help to establish your own edible garden

Further education

See My Smart Garden’s recommended library books collection.

Free online Science of Gardening units are offered periodically by the University of Tasmania.

ABC’s Gardening Australia and Sustainable Gardening Australia have many excellent fact sheets, articles and videos.