Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sheet Mulching: I hope this works

Despite being tired because I've spent the last three days doing this project ALL BY MYSELF, this concept of sheet mulching really wasn't that difficult.  Basically, you cut the grass low, cover it with cardboard, then lay down a few inches of soil and mulch.  It is supposed to kill the grass and weeds underneath, and turn them into rich loam that you can plant in.  Cardboard is used because it will eventually break down, allowing you to plant in it, unlike landscape fabric which would have to be cut every time you wanted to add a plant.

Internet sites that demonstrate this technique call for about 6 inches of organic matter over the cardboard.  I'm trying to get away with about half that.  Hopefully, that won't be my downfall.  I'll be annoyed if this area is a giant weed pile next year.

In any event, I've spent the last three days getting this project off the ground.  I cut down the grass and pulled the bigger weeds, planted some anchor plants, covered the area with cardboard then spread the area with a thin layer of steer manure (yes, it's quite ripe out there right now!).   Water the whole thing down real good.

Next weekend, Tommy and I will be trucking a few yards of soil and mulch over the whole thing to complete the dirt areas.  Next step after that will be to bring in the field stone that will be used as the border to the path.  Then finally, river rock to fill in the path and seating area.  After that, it will be the simple matter of adding some additional plants, making the bird bath, bringing in some flagstones and other decorative elements.  But all that will be done at my leisure once the main guts of this project is complete.

Looking forward to it being done!  I'm already tired and I'm only halfway there.  I had forgotten how much help I get out of my husband when he's not working.  I tried tackling this phase of the project mostly alone, and it's very tiring.  For sure, my teenager will be lending some muscles for the rest of it!


  1. Uhhh...Should I post this or not?? OK, here goes. We put cardboard down all over our back yard, with wood chip mulch over it. I was never going to pull another weed again as long as I lived. Guess what. They're growing in the mulch. Oh, well. At least there aren't nearly as many of them as there would be without the cardboard and mulch. Eventually there will be so many shrubs and plants back there that there will be even less space for weeds. Good luck with yours. I hope it works.

  2. Yes, I don't think there's a way to ever 100% get rid of weeds. In my garden, I weed whacked the whole area down to dirt, covered it with heavy landscaping fabric then brought in 5 yards of crushed rock. I still get weeds. Though they're much easier to pull since the roots don't penetrate below the fabric. So far, I've only had a few poke themselves through all the layers. Like you mentioned, I'm looking forward to my shrubs filling in the area and shading them out. I've got a bed in the front yard that is 4 years old now. I get weeds, but really, I only have to go out there twice a year and pull them up. For me, that is much less effort than the weekly maintenance our lawn gets.