Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sheet Mulching - Day 1

We've begun sheet mulching Terrace #3. Here is a good article explaining the sheet mulching  

First, we put down one layer of manure (TGFH-Thank God for Horses).  Then, a layer of cardboard to keep weeds from reaching the surface.  Then we took some time to map out where we want walkways to access our vegetables, and covered these with dirt.  Next Tim watered down the cardboard so the dampness will help it break down with the manure.

Next, we put another layer of manure over the cardboard, on the parts that will be planted. This will aid with the compost process to give us nice, rich soil for planting.  After manure came some old hay that we've had which was too
rotten to feed the horses, but good to create compost.  The concept is "green" materials layered with "brown" compost materials.  So the manure is our green, the cardboard is brown.  We might have too much green, because hay is apparently green also...hmmm.  After it has cooked a few weeks, we may add some peat to the top before planting, and/or amend as needed.  We put some wood chips on the walkways, in between the planting areas. 

After the hay layer, Tim is sprinkling the top of it (more moisture) and will cover the whole thing with black plastic.  We'll leave it this way to cook for about 8 weeks, just in time for our "last average frost date", May 10, when we can begin planting.  

Meanwhile, I'll be planting a few more seeds indoors this week, and I'm still reading lots of garden books for more ideas of what to plant and how to plant it.

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