Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Sheet Mulch Project

In last year's garden (and landscape), weeds ran amok and ruled supreme. We happened to have a record rainfall and at the same time I neglected to mulch as I should have, and in addition I was in my last trimester of pregnancy when those weeds were starting to take hold.

I have taken a vow to prevent weeds this season. In OKC, the hardest weed for me to deal with is one that every lawn company and homeowner plants - the devil Bermuda grass.

My aggressive approach is to cover every inch of exposed soil with newspapers, fertilizer and straw (garden) or cardboard and woodchips (landscape and paths).

This method can actually be used to improve your soil. Since I neglected to double dig my garden, the soft soil only extends down about 6 inches. I hope to increase that by another several inches, while at the same time suppressing weeds, through sheet mulching.

My sheet mulch depends much on what I've got on hand and what is available in bulk 'round here. I plan to use (in this order from the soil up): wood ashes, newspaper, cottonseed meal, leaves/grass clippings, compost/manure, all topped with straw. Technically I should have made this last fall but I had an infant then. New parents, you can sympathize with me - on a good day I could brush my teeth, take a shower and maybe do a load of laundry. But no sheet mulching.

Anyway, after I get the sheet mulch established I will plant my transplants in little compost "wells" in there, and by April 15th or so the mulch should be slightly decomposed, making a nice soil around the transplants.

Wish me luck!

No comments: