Free Compost

As a follow-up to my free seeds post, I thought I’d share a few places one can get free compost.

SF Environment is a department of the city and county of San Francisco focused on advancing climate protection and enhancing quality-of-life for San Franciscans.   Visit their website here to see three possible ways of getting compost for free.

  • San Francisco Public Works hosts Community Clean Team volunteer days at which compost is often available for volunteers.  What a great opportunity to get involved in your community and get free compost!  Check the Community Clean Team web page for details about specific events.

In addition to SFPW, there are a couple of other resources that  provide the fertile compost you seek.  These are…

  • Urban Agriculture Resource Centers –  Check out Urban Agriculture Resource Centers for events where free compost, soil, and mulch are often available.  The events are at different locations each month.
  • Bayview Greenwaste donates compost to the community for free if picked up, or can be delivered for a small fee.  You can contact Bayview Greenwaste to arrange pickup or delivery.

Have a tip for free gardening?   Let me know, I’ll share it!

Free Classical Concerts

classical music

Free concerts, free concerts, free concerts!!!! I had some coffee.

A good friend just told me about a way to go to concerts………….. for free!  If you’re interested check out noontimeconcerts.org.

Noontime Concerts is a non-profit that connects the public with promising local and international artists.  The concerts are held on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. in the financial district.  The location makes the concerts accessible to local workers and tourists alike.

Noontime Concerts is a Bay Area organization that has been connecting the public with talented musicians for 29 years.  They have a strong relationship with Old St. Mary’s and present many of their productions at the church.  This historical cathedral is an important San Francisco landmark and amazing setting for concerts.

As is usually the case with these things, there is no cost, but donations are welcome.

Hear of any free events?  Let me know, I’ll be happy to post it!  Check out other free things to do in San Francisco under the Free By District area of this website.

 

Free Seeds!

I am so excited!  I just became the proud owner of a plot in a community garden which led me on a journey to find free seeds.  Community garden plots are in high demand in my community.  I put my name on the list for a plot several years ago and finally, my name has come up.  I must admit, I have a brown thumb.  As much as I like plants, I can’t seem to keep them alive, but I sure am going to try!

As with anything else, it pains me to pay money for things.  I understand that seeds are a ridiculously cheap investment when compared to the amount of food produced, but as I’ve said, I have a brown thumb.  So, for me, buying seeds is like flushing money down the toilet.  My search for free seeds was rewarded with two options (I’m sure there’s more, but I stopped looking once I found these).  It turns out the San Francisco Library is part of a program that fosters distribution of FREE SEEDS!  As it happens, I live within walking distance of the Potrero library which participates in this program.  I was able to “check out” several seeds for things like beans, lettuce, wheat and, peppers.  I can “return” the seeds by bringing back seeds from successfully grown plants.  You can visit the website here.

The other source is the USDA.  I have not yet attempted this method, but hope to soon.  Luckily, some wonderful, free-loving person has written an article on how to obtain these seeds.  It looks like there is a bit of a process, but hopefully, this article will help us speed through it.  As I mentioned, I’ve not yet done it, but intend to get around to it.  The link is here.

I have already planted zucchini and I’m thrilled to report that, not only is it still alive, it’s blooming!  The person who had my plot before me graciously left behind a lemon tree, mint, rosemary, and poppies.  I am so excited to have food producing plants already planted and mature.  The lemon tree is not yet producing lemons, but I have already used rosemary and mint from the garden.

I continue to discover unexpected benefits of the garden.  I’ve started using herbs that I have not used before like mint and have been able to use herbs more often than I had in the past because of cost and availability.  I recently made rosemary sourdough bread that turned out wonderfully.   As a result, my interest in using herbs has expanded.  I’m also trying basil bought from the store to see how I might use it.  So far, I put it in almost everything I cook.

But wait, there’s more!  I’ve also met a few of my plot mates – other plot owners in the community garden.  The other people in my community using the garden are friendly and like-minded.  I really appreciate the community garden experience and look forward to growing all kinds of new things with the free seeds that other community-minded folks have made available through the free seed movement.

Have you started a garden?  How is it going?  Let us know about the benefits you’ve experienced from gardening by dropping a line.

Happy growing!

 

St. Patrick’s Church – Free Sightseeing

St. Patrick’s Church is one of SOMAs best free sightseeing opportunities.  A Roman Catholic church founded in 1851, it is located at 756 Mission Street, between 3rd and 4th streets, across the street from Yerba Buena Gardens in the heart of the South of Market district.

The church features Gothic Revival architecture, with ribbed vaults, pointed arches, a central nave and two side aisles of lower height. The nave follows the basic Gothic pattern with a triforium and clerestory-like top tier.

The church is said to be the “most Irish church in the United States”.  Accented by the Irish national colors with green, white and gold marble.  Each of the patron saints of the thirty-two counties of Ireland is proudly showcased on the Tiffany-style stained-glass windows, which also depict the rich heritage and traditions of the Irish.

The church has served many and survived much during its over 150-year history.  It served the miners on their way to Gold country, the Irish when they immigrated to San Francisco, it withstood the earthquake of 1906 and the subsequent fires, it has served the Spanish-speaking and now serves the Filipino community and tourists. The church is unchanged amidst an ever-changing landscape.  St. Patrick’s Church is not to be missed as one of the best free sightseeing opportunities in SOMA.

St. Patrick’s Church is opened until 6:15 pm on weekdays and 6:45 pm on weekends. Step inside and enjoy this beautiful and peaceful respite in the heart of San Francisco.  To see more free sightseeing in San Francisco, visit the Free By District area of this website.

 

Tools and Materials for Free from Building Resources

tools and materials for free

I just learned about a new find.  I’ve been told about a place where you can get building (and maybe gardening?) tools and materials for free.  Building Resources is a non-profit that deals in reusable building and landscaping materials.  They are located at 701 Amador Street, San Francisco.

Their website says they are “…dedicated to providing our community with low-cost, high-quality materials, in a friendly, clean and organized setting”.  I was told about this place by a community gardener and I can’t wait to check it out!

If you are familiar with Building Resources or another source for free tools and materials, please let us know!  Woot woot!  Free.  Check out their website:  Building Resources

If you want to check out other free things in SF, or free things to do in SF,  check out My Frugal Life and Free By District on this website.

THIRD THURSDAYS – FREE MUSEUMS

On the third Thursday of each month, you can visit several museums free of charge AND in the evening to boot!  The event is called Third Thursdays and is centered around the Yerba Buena area of downtown.  Enjoy art and music free each month.
Participating museums often include YBCA, African Diaspora, and the Jewish Contemporary Museum.  However, venues change so check out the following website to see what’s happening on Third Thursdays.

Better than Free – Volunteering or Giving!

volunteering or giving

What’s better than “free”?  VOLUNTEERING or GIVING!!!

Volunteering or giving to your favorite cause or even just helping out a neighbor can bring more joy to your life than anything money can buy. Spend some time giving. You will be amazed at how rich you’ll feel.

I’ve found Volunteer Match has a lot of really interesting volunteering opportunities from helping entrepreneurs, community improvement, sewing, literacy, it goes on and on.  It’s so fun to think of using your expertise to help others.  And no doubt, you will grow as well.

Let me know if you have a favorite cause or resource for volunteering.  If you want to check out other free things in SF, or free things to do in SF,  check out My Frugal Life and Free By District on this website.

Happy Volunteering!

Water is Life and Free!

Water is Life and Free!

My trusty water bottle. I take it with me everywhere.  It saves me tons since I don’t need to buy water and it’s better for the environment.  SFwater.org has a map of water tap locations in the city.  Drink water, it’s good for you and free!

I’d argue that SF has the best tasting water in the country. Drink up!

If you want to check out other free things in SF, or free things to do in SF,  check out My Frugal Life and Free By District on this website.

Baking Bread – Sourdough

Fresh baked sourdough bread.

I’m baking bread today.  I love, love, love fresh sourdough bread.  A wonderful person at work told me about sourdough starter (which is just flour and water) and how to bake bread with these two simple ingredients (plus a bit of salt).  No need to buy yeast; which is awesome because yeast is annoying.  It’s touchy, EXPENSIVE, it gets old faster than you want it to AND it’s processed, or farmed, so it’s not as natural/healthy as using sourdough starter.

For those who don’t know, sourdough starter is the leavening in sourdough bread which makes the bread rise.  It puts those awesome holes in the bread and makes the bread sort of spongy or gives it “crumb”.  Anyway, sourdough starter is the leavening agent in sourdough bread rather than yeast.  And…it’s FREE!!!!  Well, almost free.  It’s basically a bit of flour and water and the yeast come out of the air.  I’ve read posts that say that the yeast actually comes from the wheat, but regardless, this is by far the cheapest leavening you’re going to find.  And to top it off, it’s tastier and healthier.

So, I’m baking bread today.  I’m counting this as my best frugal thing today.  I have some butter in the house so, I’m going to enjoy my fresh baked bread w/coffee this a.m. for a luxurious Saturday morning relaxing with tasty fresh bread right out of the oven in a house that smells amazing and a nice hot cup of joe.

WOOT WOOT!!  I can smell the bread, it will be ready in 15 minutes!

Cost – I bought this flour on sale a while back when a store had 5 pound bags for flour for a buck.  That was a crazy cheap price.  They put flour on sale just before the Christmas holiday and I STOCKED UP.  I have flour coming out of my ears.  Which is awesome ’cause I bake bread a LOT of bread.

My husband and I enjoy fresh bread.  Not bread pre-sliced, full of preservatives and has a shelf life of over two weeks.  If your bread doesn’t go bad within a week, it has too many gross (unhealthy) preservatives in it.  After you eat fresh bread for a while, the taste of the preservatives in processed bread become very apparent on your palate.  Anyway, we have been BUYING fresh bread for years now.  And let me tell you, it is not cheap.  If we find a crazy good deal, we might be able to get a loaf for $3.50.  Good luck finding one at that price though.  For the most part, decent fresh bread costs about $5.  We go through a loaf a bread per week which means we’re going through $20 of bread per month.  This doesn’t seem that bad considering the nutrition benefits and the amazing taste of good fresh bread, BUT I can bake a loaf of bread for about 25 cents with my sale flour.  If I have to pay full price for the flour ($3), it costs me about 75 cents.  So, with my sale flour I’m spending $1 per month for, in my opinion, better bread.  With full price flour I’m paying $3 month.  That’s a HUGE savings of $17 per month or $204 per year with no compromise on taste and nutrition.

I have to digress here and complain about the quality of my flour.  I have been looking for better flour for some time now and can’t seem to find good flour that doesn’t cost a sh*t load.   I blame all these “artisan-crazed”  people who want to spend too much on things.  Anyway, if you know of a good, cheap source for quality flour, I would greatly appreciate it if you could hit me up with the suggestion.

You may be thinking about how time consuming baking bread must be and that you don’t have time to do this.  Fair enough, if you don’t want to dedicate a few minutes to baking bread, that’s your call.  I will say however, that my favorite recipe takes very little time.  It has basically three steps and you can do them on consecutive days so each day you spend about 5 minutes on it.  That said, it has taken me some time to know what to expect and how the bread is effected by things that I’m doing during the process.  I have had a lot of fun (and some frustration) working with the bread baking process.  I have a LOT more to learn and if you look on line there are some really, really good bread bakers out there.  Although I would love to be able to bake bread like they do, I know that, for me, it will take some time and experimentation to learn.

My mom baked bread.  When I bake bread, I feel a connection with her.  I love working with dough, it feels more like a lifestyle than a chore and brings peace to a world that can be full of crazy.  Baking bread is pure and natural.  We need more of that in our lives.

Pro Tips

A couple of other homemade things I’d like to try are jelly and yogurt.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for these or other food-related tips.

If you want to check out other free things in SF, or free things to do in SF,  check out My Frugal Life and Free By District on this website.

Happy Baking!!!