Sheet mulching

In the Garden

I am trying to get all my “garden” projects completed and just when I think I am finished…something else pops up!  I have been very lucky this fall because the weather has been extremely mild for this time of year.  Last year, we had a foot of snow on the ground.  I remember the very first time I went to see the farm last year on December 8th and it was 13 degrees and snow everywhere.
To get prepared to do this sheet mulching in the garden, I had to collect a lot of (free) resources.  Most October mornings went like this…I would drop Mark off at school.  Head to the Recycling Center and scavenge for large sheets of cardboard.  Then, I would drive 3 miles outside of town and fill up 5 gallon buckets with rabbit manure/wood shavings.  When I came back into town, I would stop at 2 coffee shops and pick up grounds on my way home.

One project that took me about 2 weeks was sheet mulching a 30X50 foot area that will be used for the cucurbit hay bale garden.  I have identified 16 different vining plants that I would like to try and grow…then, I thought of another one the other day…these range from pumpkins, squash, melons to cucumbers.  Here is a short video of how I am doing the sheet mulching…

Finished 50 X 30 foot area for hay bale garden in the spring.

Here is the new sunflower area!  It is located in front of the house.  I had been collecting cardboard and coffee grounds (on the right in pic) and Henry helped me carry broken hay bales out to the area a few weeks ago (on the left in pic).

First, I watered it well…

Then, I put down a good layer of coffee grounds…

I was finally able to locate a source of rabbit manure that is mixed in with wood shavings.  I did not use the rabbit manure on the larger cucurbit area because that would area was so large that I would never have been able to get enough and also, I did not know about this resource until I was pretty much done with that area.  Also, I will be planting into the hay bales in that situation so I won’t be planting directly into the ground like I am with the sunflower area.  I put a good 2-3 inch layer of the rabbit manure on…

Then, I put down the cardboard and the hay on top…

Here is a pic of the finished sunflower area…I squished all the rows together into this one, long area.

After finishing the sunflower growing area, I sheet mulched my herb garden area where the hugelkultur mound is located. 

Now, I may try to sheet mulch my new orchard area.  I had planted 4 trees and several bushes but had run out of time to mulch when I planted things.  It seems the weather  (and when I say weather, I mean snow) may cooperate and I will still be able to get it finished before Christmas!

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