My plan, when we have some property of our own (hopefully next spring), is to sheet-mulch Back to Eden style (cardboard - 4-6" compost - 8-10" ramial wood chips and leaves - 1-2" manure) as much as I have materials for. (I'm already doing this on a small scale where we are now.) For the rest, I will plant a multi-species, multi-type cover crop, then chop-and-drop it (perhaps multiple times). No tilling or digging (other than water control and planting holes) on my property, ever. I also want to incorporate animals (chickens, ducks, maybe goats) in some way, but not sure yet how I want to go about it. It will depend on how soon I'm able to get some animals, or perhaps borrow some. If necessary, I may incorporate some Korean Natural Farming inputs, as well.
As trucking in products, not knowing their treatment or source, and taking away leaves/plant material from one part of the property to add to another can all have downsides, does anyone know of a mulching method that could be more sustainable? I did see something about growing ground cover but am unsure about how far this goes, how much it will cover and how thick it will be.
I know there is the chop-and-drop method, but I've only ever seen this in conjunction with other mulching/ground prep methods. Does anyone grow their own ground cover to be cut and used as a thick mulch right where the plant was growing, or grow enough mulch somewhere else on their own property? I'm picturing a small forest of sunflowers slowly rotting in place...is that enough to prepare a bed?
What doesn't involve a truck, a chipper, or stealing mulch from another area that would use it. (If I have trees on my property, then I want them to benefit from the leaves they drop every year.)
I'm very interested in knowing how to do this both on a larger and smaller scale.
Does anyone grow their own ground cover to be cut and used as a thick mulch right where the plant was growing, or grow enough mulch somewhere else on their own property? I'm picturing a small forest of sunflowers slowly rotting in place...is that enough to prepare a bed?
If you live in a zone that winter wheat is grown then planting wheat , barley, rye will give you a straw mulch. In my case it also provides feed for the chickens when the grain develops.
I bought a bag of bird feed for the chickens in early spring and by fall what they buried provided more feed pluss more mulch.