Consider local compost, mulch programs for garden’s soil

This weather has been something else the past few months. Are your spring bulbs coming up? With our weather temperatures moving between 30-70 degrees in a 24 hour period, it is no wonder the bulbs don’t know it’s early March.

No matter what the weather will look like when spring finally arrives, it is good to plan ahead and be ready for it.

We want to make sure that Bartholomew County residents are aware of the compost and mulch programs here at Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District. In 2017, 16 tons of yard waste material was diverted from the landfill and made into a useful product.

It’s important when preparing your garden to make sure that it has enough nutrients to grow properly. One of the easiest ways to fertilize your soil is by adding compost. Compost is rich hummus that is produced when plants break down (decompose) back to a type of soil which is often referred to as black gold. By adding a small amount of compost to your garden or flower bed it acts as a natural fertilizer and can make a huge difference in your plant life and production.

No worries if you don’t compost at home, our yard waste site will help you. All leaves, grass and garden waste are placed into what we call windrows, and turned until it eventually becomes compost. All tree limbs and brush that is collected is ground into mulch.

This mulch is not treated against insects or stained for different colors, but it works well for gardens and flower beds away from the house.

All Bartholomew County residents are welcome to free mulch and compost, if you load it yourself.

Mulch is just as important to your garden as compost. Placing mulch around the plants helps to control weeds by limiting sunlight to weeds. Mulch retains moisture in the ground by limiting evaporation, and prevents soil erosion by trapping the water in the soil. Also, earthworms are attracted to the slowly decomposing mulch on top of the soil, and then provide nutrients to the plants roots.

There are options for those who cannot or choose not to load material by themselves: Senior Loading Days and Friday Loading Days (April through October). Each year, BCSWMD offers two days in March where we will load mulch or compost for senior citizens of Bartholomew County absolutely free. The dates for this year’s senior loading will take place from 8 a.m. to noon March 21 and March 28. Also, look for more information about free loading on Earth Day.

For all Bartholomew County residents, our regular loading season begins April 6 and runs through October 26 (except when closed on Good Friday).

Every Friday that we are open from 2 to 4:30 p.m., pay only $10 and we will load the mulch or compost for you. Residents will simply need to stop by the district office located at 720 S. Mapleton to pay for a load (about the size of a pick-up truck bed), and then head up to the Yard Waste Site where the operator will load your truck or trailer.

For more information visit our website at, or call our office at 812-376-2614. Like our Facebook Page by searching for Bartholomew County Solid Waste District.

Kari Spurgeon is the education coordinator at the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District. She can be reached at 812-376-2614 or