Expanding the Garden
On what was probably one of the last warm-ish days of the fall, I decided to prepare a new garden bed for use next season. With the tons of fallen leaves we have piled up around the property as well as a couple yards of wood mulch left over from having a tree taken down at the end of the summer and a bunch of cardboard boxes sitting around in the basement, I had what I needed to do some simple sheet mulching.
Sheet mulching is basically the process of piling a bunch of stuff on top of a plot of land in order to build organic material and nutrients in the soil while killing weeds. A thorough sheet mulching job can involve a whole lot of layers:
I didn’t do such a thorough job. The soil test we had done a few months back suggests our soil actually has fairly good nutrient content. What I really wanted was to kill off the existing grass and weeds, add organic matter, and add a layer of looser material on top of the ground, which is rocky and hard to dig out. I just used a layer of leaves for organic material, a layer of cardboard to smother weeds, and then wood mulch on top to hold everything down (and provide more organic material).
I didn’t have enough cardboard to form a solid overlapping layer so I might have some weeds come back, but I’m hoping we have a pretty clear and fertile patch to start planting come spring. I just got Eric Toensmeier’s Perennial Vegetables as a Hannukah gift and I’m looking to find some inspiration there.