On Saturday a working bee in the Warrane Community Garden used cardboard to productively sheet-mulch a large area. Friend K reported:
‘For those not familiar with sheet-mulching, it is a simple process with many benefits. To sheet-mulch a large area, the more hands the better! The working team is so appreciative of everyone who made this result possible at our first open working bee, including members from – @clarenceclimateaction, @PermacultureTasmaniaHobartEasternShoreLocals, Rotary and @ClarenceCityCouncil. Thank you all!
Benefits of sheet mulching:
- reduces the area needing to be mowed/whipper-snipped while also forming part of the no toxin weed management strategy around our beds.
- this means more time for vollies to focus on getting other stuff done
- the organic matter beneath the sheet-mulch breaks down and feeds the soil. This increases overall soil health within the garden.
- in our case the existing weeds contributed to some uneven surfaces around the raised beds. By mulching this area we made it more even, and so more accessible to all.
- it looks pretty good
- existing grass/weeds were cut as low to the surface as possible (thanks to Clarence City Council for once again helping us with this)
- an edge was cut around the area to act as a barrier against pushy runner grasses (the edge still needs to be maintained over time).
- all of the plastic & tape on cardboard and glossy catalogues in newspapers were removed before laying out
- the edge and area was then covered in a thick layer of overlapping *completely wet* sheets of cardboard or newspaper – cardboard is generally hardier on pathways. For best results, any gaps or holes were covered as soon as they were spotted.
- covered cardboard/newspaper sheets with bark mulch. We had been donated a few different batches so we have some colour difference visible here.’
Before the work was undertaken, the ground was covered in a combination of grasses and weeds.
After sheet-mulching, the areas were much flatter and cleaner with a layer of bark mulch overlaying the cardboard.
The Warrane Community Garden has its own Facebook site where you can see more information and photos of the successful work undertaken.
In addition to the practical knowledge gained, this post was enjoyable for me in that I learned two new words: whipper-snipping; presumably what in Britain we call strimming; and vollies, which is charming. Thank you! Cheers, Jon.
There are so many ‘English’ languages. Just as your words are foreign to me, I guess if we checked on American English there would be a different set of alternative names.