Empress Kaity’s Gardening Tips

Sheet Mulching

Spring has finally reached us in northern Vermont and the gardening season has started. Sheet mulching in action. I started my very first sheet mulch bed. First, I watered the sod thoroughly and layered cardboard on top (all tape removed, of course). Next, I watered the cardboard and emptied all the soil out of old planters that were laying around. On top of this I put a layer of old hay. This is our first summer in our house and our yard hasn’t been mowed in a couple years so we have this in excess. For the last couple days, I have been checking the moisture levels and watering my pile, a lot. It should feel like a wet sponge; No dry spots. As I know I am too impatient to wait for this bed to mature, I added all the sod from my double dug bed to the top. When a sufficient amount of this material has broken down I will move any intact plant matter to the compost pile and begin planting the bed. The benefits of this method are: no digging, moist soil rich in organic matter, and it encourages earthworms-they do the work for you.

To try this you will need: Cardboard, soil, and organic mulch, shovel, garden cart or wheel barrow, and a water source

Step 1: Pick your spot and start small.

Step 2: Water the ground thoroughly.

Step 3: Lay out fat sheets of cardboard to kill back grass and weeds.

Step 4: Spread topsoil, planting medium, compost, or manure on top of the cardboard.

Step 5: Top with a layer of organic mulch, anything will do. Use stuff you already have on site as a practice in sustainability.

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 to your heart’s delight or until your bed has reached the desired height.

Step 7: Wait, in time the earthworms will create a nutrient rich raised bed for you to plant in. The more refined the materials you use are, the sooner this will be.

Important: Water between each step and regularly as needed. Earthworms like a moist cool habitat.

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