I have recently moved into a new appartment with a garden. I have about 40 m2 with good sunlight during the day that I would like to to use to grow food. Right now there are a number of wild plants and grass growing there.
Ideally I should have starting preparing my soil in fall, but I moved in recently.
Due to the ongoing confinement, I can't gather much material, but here's what I have/can get :
- about 15 kg of horse manure mixed with straw,
- quite a lot of cardboard (from the boxes I moved in with),
- some newspaper,
- the grass gorwing there that I could cut,
- some compost in bags I could purchase in a nearby shop.
So my question is two-fold :
1) Does it make sense to try sheet-mulching with these ingredients (I know I should have a lot of hay, or wood shavings) ?
2) Can I sheet-mulch now and start planting and sowing a few weeks (3,4 weeks) ?
If one can answer yes to these questions, would it be interesting to sheet-mulch with less-than-ideal material and at short notice, compared to simply removing the grass, tiling a bit and mixing the current soil with horse manure ?
"Plan for the worst, hope for the best." David Holmgren
The "ideal" sheet mulch stack builds soil super fast for sure, but with just cardboard over inverted sod you will be smothering unwanted plants and inviting worms towards the surface. Depending on how thick you want your layer of manure, I would only mulch as much of the space as you have materials rather than thin it out to cover everything.
If I were to use what you have I would flip the grass upside down with a shovel, put down a layer of cardboard, slop on the manure, add a top layer of cardboard, and as you mow the lawn spread the clippings 5+ centimeters deep to eventually cover all the exposed cardboard. The exposed cardboard dries out fast, and is not very appealing to look at, but I am willing to look ugly for a bit.
When you plant, I would use a little trowel to punch a hole through to the soil, smush the manure to the sides, and add some compost to the planting hole with the baby plant. Heck you could even plant potted seedlings the day you sheet mulch if you use the newspaper (crumpled up) to make a ring around the compost, keeping out the manure until the newspaper and manure rot a bit and cool down.
If you practice good permaculture principals even a "mistake" still builds soil. Have fun playing in your garden!
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