Compost Bin Voucher Program – San Diego County, California


This post will be geographically specific to our location, but maybe for those of you outside our area, there is a compost bin rebate or voucher program available as well. I will say that this program was not very easy to find, and this is why we decided to post about it.

Josh has been wanting to buy a real compost bin for a while. He tried to use a compost heap, but that didn’t work out. We looked at some compost bins and tumblers online, but we were a bit put off by how expensive they were!

I had seen something about a compost bin voucher program in a Dixieline ad, and I showed it to Josh. It wasn’t very clear how it worked, so he decided to go to the Dixieline by our house and see if they even had compost bins there. He didn’t find any. So I decided to do more digging online and realized that there was an application you had to fill out online first before you could buy the compost bin at the discount price.

The compost bin voucher application link differs depending on where you live in San Diego County. We are in an unincorporated area, so I went to the San Diego County website.

Click here to go to the Compost Bin Voucher Application for San Diego County

All we had to do was fill out the application so they could verify if we qualified and wait for an e-mail that gave us the voucher for $40 off a compost bin. You could get $40 off vouchers for up to 2 of each type of compost bin: the classic compost bin and the can of worms compost bin (which I am assuming is for vermicomposting). There are only two Dixieline locations where you can redeem the vouchers for the County of San Diego, the Escondido location and the Rancho San Diego location.

Here are a few other links for those in the City of San Diego, La Mesa, and Del Mar.

Click here to go to the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of San Diego

There are 3 compost bin options for residents of the City of San Diego. Please note that the voucher redemption locations for the City of San Diego are different than those for San Diego County.

Click here for more information about the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of La Mesa

La Mesa has a different method of application and receipt of the voucher. You either mail in or drop off the application, and your voucher is mailed to you in 2-4 weeks.

Click here for more information about the Compost Bin Voucher Application for the City of Del Mar

Those are the only 3 other cities I found in a quick Google search. There may be more opportunities that I just did not see.

Our final cost was around $100 for two of the classic soil saver compost bins. Hopefully, in about two months, we will have good dirt for Josh’s garden beds.

Josh will be taking over the post from here, since he is the one who went to pick up the compost bins. I just took care of the online application for him.

We live closest to the Rancho San Diego Dixieline, so that is the one I got the compost bins from.  As Lynn said, I didn’t see any regular compost bins the first time I went to the Dixieline.  At that time they did have a couple of the worm compost bins.  I would imagine they don’t sell as many of those since people don’t usually want to deal with worms.  When I went to the store on Saturday there were probably about 8 of the compost bins, some of which had come from a different store in El Cajon.  If you don’t live close to either the Rancho San Diego or Escondido store, you may want to call ahead to verify they have the bins you want.

The cashiers in the store are unable to give you the discount.  You have to go to what I believe is called the Pro Center usually located near the middle of the store.  This is the place where you also order wood and other large products.  This is typically a slower desk because they are working through special or large orders.  Make sure you give yourself a few extra minutes in the store in case someone is ahead of you at check out.

– Joshua





Newspaper Seed Starter Pots

In years past when I wanted to start seeds, I would use the peat pots found at home improvement stores.  Those pots have a couple of downsides.  First, they cost money, and if I want to plant a lot of seeds then I will have to buy many pots.  Second, they never seem to rot away like I want.  I have found a number of plants that went root bound with the pot still around the roots.

This year I want to try something else.  I saw pots made out of newspaper on many blogs and other places.  I wanted to try out the pots myself before I posted about them.  So far the pots seem to be working well.  I was afraid they would fall apart quickly once water was put on them.  Instead the paper seems to hold up well for the time it takes a seed to begin to grow.  I haven’t seen yet how they rot once in the ground, but they are soft and seem like they will rot nicely as the plant grows.

I saw different ways to make the pots, anywhere from fancy folding to just using tape.  I decided to use tape myself because I want to make many pots quickly.  It is easy enough to remove the tape before putting the pot in the ground.

I tried to use only the pages of the paper that had no colored ink.  This was difficult since the San Diego Union-Tribune loves colored ads.  Some days I could only find a few pages to use.


I ripped the double sided pages in half down the seam.

tearing newpaper

For the first pot I made I just folded the half sheet in half.  It made a pot that was to tall for the basting pans I am using as mini greenhouses.  To make the pots shorter, I folded the page in half then folded the bottom of the page halfway to the fold mark.  Eventually, I got to the point where I could tell where I needed to fold without folding the sheet in half first.

After that quarter fold, I folded the bottom to the top of the page.


I used a water bottle to roll the page. It seemed like the perfect size for what I was doing.  A can from canned food might be a good size too.

Once I got the page rolled all the way up I used a piece of masking tape to hold the end.  Masking tape isn’t very sticky so it is easy to remove.

taping the edge

Next, I stood the bottle on its cap to fold the bottom of the pot. I used another piece of tape on the bottom of the pot to hold it together.

The finished pot is about half the size of a water bottle, and it is easy to make many of them quickly.

I used the pots to start some of my Tom Thumb Peas.  All 11 of the seeds I planted have sprouted and seem to be doing well.  They have gotten big enough that I feel comfortable moving them into their larger pots.  Before I did that, I tore the top rim off of the paper pots at the level of the dirt and removed the tape.  Roots were already starting to go through the bottom of the paper pot so I carefully opened the bottom to allow the roots access to the dirt.



As I said before, the pots are very easy to make.  I told my two oldest children that I would give them 25 cents for each two pots they make.  My oldest is the only one that has made pots so far.  I think he has made about 30 after he finished school for the day. They are a bit uneven and sort of random in size, but they are pretty close to what I showed him how to make.  I think this is a good project for kids because it is easy, and it helps them to be involved in the gardening and growing process.



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