Last week’s guest post about choosing organic fertilizer drew comments from my brother, urban farmer and permaculture instructor Ben Stallings of Interdependent Web, explaining the good reasons to improve your soil with plants rather than manufactured pellets (even if they are made from organic materials). Until then, I wasn’t aware that he had written an updated version of his Earthling’s Handbook post about sheet mulching with unwanted ragweed plants. Here’s his article in Permaculture News giving more detail about the science and the technique.
I’ve also been contacted by fix.com suggesting that I share their helpful graphics about sheet mulching. I’m happy to spread the word about this all-natural technique that puts your dead autumn leaves, compost, manure (a pet rabbit makes low-odor manure out of your carrot peelings and is cute, too!), old newspapers or cardboard boxes, and pulled-up weeds or grass clippings to work making rich new soil! You can even set it up on top of a lawn without having to pull up all the grass first.
Have we in the Earthling’s Handbook household tried sheet mulching for ourselves? Well, not exactly–we’ve never followed the technique exactly as shown, with all those layers. But we have used cardboard on the ground, a layer of green stuff, a layer of compost, and a layer of dead leaves on top to choke out weeds and create topsoil in parts of our yard that were just eroded clay. It works very well! We should do more of it!