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Monday, May 1, 2017

Sheet mulching and its benefits.

Sheet mulching is a method of building a massive compost pile across the surface of a field or garden, instead of piling manure, leaves, crop residue, and other organic materials in a squat pile, you spread it all out where the compost is needed. This saves you the effort and time to build a pile, turn it, water it, and otherwise coerce it to break down into rich, brown earth, a process that can go on for months. Sheet mulching traps moisture in the soil, as mulching is a must to cut down on irrigation. Sheet mulches includes a layer of cardboard to keep grass and weeds from growing through ,and its a great way to remove unwanted vegetation and turn a dry lawn into a garden. The cardboard used in sheet mulching is much more effective at trapping moisture than typical wood chips or straw normally used in other mulches. Another reason to use sheet mulching is that earthworms love cardboard and when they eat it they excrete rich, dark compost that contains five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium than ordinary soil. This dark compost improves soil structure and this increases yield of fruits and vegetables that taste better and last longer in the field without any need for chemicals for packaging. How to do sheet mulching ; Materials needed are 1) cardboard 2) mulch 3)organic matter. The size of cardboard will depend on area /space,cardboard. It is better to use biggest sheets of cardboard you can find,such as boxes from bicycles and kitchen appliances, to make things easier. Cardboard with glossy color print, as the ink which are not biodegradable should not be used. The use of thick layers of newspaper instead of cardboard is efficient for sheet mulching small spaces. The cardboard is spread and if the soil you’re planning to sheet mulch is already very moist, you dont need to wet it.When the soil is not moist then you need to soak the soil before spreading the cardboard . All the tape must be removed from the cardboard before the cardboard is laid over the soil/weeds while working from one end of the space to the other. Its important to overlap the pieces of cardboard by six inches to prevent the more tenacious weeds from weaseling through the gaps to the surface, where they will quickly become re-established in the rich soil you’ve made for them. Once the cardboard is in place, wet it down until it becomes heavy and limp so it doesn’t shift around or blow away in the wind as you add layers of mulch and/or compost materials on top. The next step is to spread what you intend to use as mulch in an even layer at least 2 inches thick on top of the cardboard and the process is complete.When you want to use manure,then spread it in two-inch layers alternated with a one-inch layer of organic material between each one,and finish with a final layer of mulch on top.