I’m killing my lawn and turning it into a food garden.
Let the sheet mulching begin! I went for a walk around town the other day, poking around the old abandoned railway lines (often a good place to find old tree and shrub stock), and walked past a feed and grain store I hadn’t paid much attention to. I called them up and asked if they sold strawbales, and they did. I ordered 20 at $4.50 each.
Unfortunately they don’t deliver and I don’t have a pickup any more. So I decided to rent a U-Haul, and found that the repair shop around the corner from me rents them- I could walk there if necessary. So I lined up a truck for this weekend.
Meanwhile I went on craigslist and discovered all manner of cool free stuff including rotted horse manure and creek rocks (don’t tell these folks, but people pay good money for this stuff). Haven’t heard back from the rock people yet, but I have the manure and straw pickups scheduled for this Saturday. Naturally, the forecast is for rain.
So the way sheet mulching works is this:
- first I put down a layer of manure, an inch or two thick, directly on the lawn.
- If I need soil amendments, these go down now too, and I probably should lime and rock phosphate a bit, especially up the end with the spruce tree.
- Next we need a weed barrier. My preferred material is corrugated cardboard from the gazillion shipping boxes left over from Christmas and various birthdays, coffee shipments, etc. Thick newspaper, cotton clothes or even carpet will work too. This is to prevent the lawn / weed from coming up through the manure fertilizer.
- Next layer is a bit of topsoil, maybe an inch. This isn’t really needed, but I put it in anyway.
- Then comes 6″ to 10″ of straw or other mulch. Last year I used double-ground bark mulch, but it was a bit too woody, so I changed to straw this year.
The great news about sheet mulch:
- no digging
- goes really fast
- you can plant into it right away by making little soil pockets into the mulch
- no digging
Once I get this going, I’ll include some pictures and maybe even a video on the process.