For those interested in sheet mulching here is a diagram I prepared earlier – apologies it was drawn in paint (that ultimate graphic design tool) though if you click on it, it’ll open larger in a new window. Feel free to use it where ever you want – if you’d let me know where even better.
Sheet mulching is similar to how nature prepares soil for new growth. Imagine a winter scene where leaves are falling onto the ground. Beneath the leaves is the end of the years growth, animal droppings etc – all good compostable material. The leaves provide a new layer on top that stops weeds from routing.
Similarly we’re laying down a layer manure between the old growth and compacted soil then a layer of mulch. The cardboard stops any original weeds working their way through. For my experiment I am using a double layer of cardboard in my beds.
The worms and soil beasties (inc fungus etc) work their way up into the manure and break it down into lovely soil. The mulch protects the soil being compacted by the natural elements leaving nice, loose soil. This’ll mean I can simply pull out my crops (as can animals).
Permiculture teaches us to live with the animals (ie providing them with food as well) so that’s not a problem. They will eat the food, provide more manure and possibly eat other creatures that are less desirable. I’d love to encourage ducks onto my plot – the ultimate in slug destructors.
For more regular progress I highly recommend you join us in http://forum.downsizer.net (grow your own) as I hope to post my progress and chat about the project. Come… join us.