Mulching in the New Year

Though waning, the heat wave is still here. So yesterday while Bird slept, Sprout and I continued to make progress in the garden. With the passing of the holiday’s we have a surplus of cardboard in the house and it just so happens that I have several beds to put in. Plus reading Ruth Stout’s No Work Garden she scolds the reader continuously in case they have forgotten that Fall is the best time to mulch. Okay, Ruth…Sheet Mulch Time!

In a moment of pride I hesitated to post the picture, but then figured no garden looks good in January so why not? The bed at right is not new, but we are extending it out several feet to match the expected drip line of the apple tree at the center and make room for more nitrogen fixers and another Comfrey. The area under leaves was basically bare earth this year, planted to spring annual flowers, and then in July the strawberry patch in the background was allowed to send suckers in. The Strawberries will become the groundcover in the guild. The large plant that is difficult to see on the right is a giant native Bee Balm that was covered in pollinators and hover flies this past summer so it will fit into this Apple Tree Guild just fine. Behind that is one of my existing Comfrey plants.
Later today, I will go make another Compost Run to our coffee shop and gorp 15 gallons of coffee shop slop onto the cardboard, then top dress that with 8″ of leaves from our municipal yard. I will probably need to cover it with fencing to keep the dogs out of it until it freezes, but I am hooked on sheet mulching. Total time spent is about what it would have taken to rip up the sod, but by March’s thaw (I am assuming we will freeze first) we will be well on our way to a thick 5″ layer of humus teaming with worms instead of having to truck in Compost. Sweet!

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