I just purchased a property in Fallbrook, CA (zone 11a, 11b). My zone 1 already has some aging crabapple, apple and asian pear trees planted in it (infact, some of them have been grafted), about 8-10 feet apart from eachother in every direction. At first I wondered why the ground felt spongy underfoot, and researched showed that what I have is peat soil. Lucky break for me. There's a nearby natural creek and pond that keeps the ground watered well enough that the fruit trees produce with no irrigation. The only issue that I see is that there's no ground cover, not even many weeds. Only the leaves that fell, and I've let lay. I'd like to start growing a variety of vegetables, shrubs, herbs and flowers. I've got a pretty good rough idea of the seeds that I'll put down in March thanks to Gaia's Garden (Hemenway) and a lot of research. The question I have is whether or not I should sheet mulch the whole area???
My concern is that I may throw off the C:N ratios and do more harm than good, or cause an anaerobic surge. Should I just lay down some wood chips as ground cover? Or go all out and put down cardboard, manure, mushroom compost, duckweed, straw, and wood chips? I have an abundance of all of those materials for free in my area, and I'm not scared of the work. I'm just concerned with the old adage "If it aint broke don't fix it".
Thanks for your input,