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Video:How to Sheet Mulch

with Debbie Dalrymple

If you want your garden soil to be soft and crumbly without having to till, try sheet mulching. It's easy, inexpensive, and works great!See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Sheet Mulch

Hi, I’m Debbie Dalrymple with Farm Yard CSA for About.com Garden.

Today, I’m going to show you a technique called sheet mulching that will allow you to quickly and easily prepare your garden soil and allow you to plant even that same day.

Cut Down Vegetation

The first step in sheet mulching is to cut down any existing vegetation that’s in the area where you’re going to plant. You don’t need to remove it. Simply cut it down and leave it in the area.

Lay Down a Weed Barrier

The second step is to apply a layer of some type of weed barrier. We’re going to use cardboard. It’s important to make sure that there are no cracks in the cardboard, which will allow the sun to go through the cardboard to the soil below.

Next we’re going to wet the cardboard thoroughly to allow the cardboard to mold down onto the area below.

Add Compost

The next step is to add a layer of compost. We’re going to add a layer of leaves we saved from last fall as well as finished compost from our compost pile. This can be compost that you collect from your compost pile or compost you buy from the garden store. It is very important that it be weed and seed free.

Once we’ve put down the layer of compost and leaves, we’re going to again wet that thoroughly.

Create a Mulch Layer

And then the final layer is our top layer, which is a mulch layer. We’re going to use a layer of straw. This mulch layer helps cover the area, give it a more finished look, and retain moisture in the layers below.

Planting the Soil

Now that we’ve compiled these layers, the area is ready for us to plant. And as the season progresses, the layers will break down, creating healthy soil beneath. By next spring, you’ll have a layer of soil that is rich and crumbly and full of worms, and you can plant again without even having to till.

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