sheet mulching

Sheet Mulching for New Beds

Avoid the backbreaking work of starting a new garden from scratch and try sheet mulching.

Rather than digging out existing plants, weeds, rocks and stones, tilling the soil, and digging in the organic matter, instead layer up materials that you would use to make compost on top of the soil and let the composting process do it for you. This is called sheet mulching.

  1. Start by cutting any plants in the area, particularly lawn, to the ground.
  2. Add a thick layer of compost on top of this, covering any plant material. Add any green clippings on top of the compost and then water well.
  3. Cover this with a layer of newspaper (about 8 sheets thick) or cardboard to cover the entire area. Sprinkle with water to keep it in place
  4. Top this with a thick layer of compost and then a layer of organic mulch like wood chips, sawdust or tree clippings.
  5. You can now plant seedlings or larger plants into bed, and as they grow everything underneath breaks down and forms a moisture-retaining bed with good drainage.
The Gardener