Skip to main content

Sheet Mulch Day!

It used to be that the first step in planting a garden was to turn the soil.  If you were lucky, you had a rototiller machine to make the job easier.  A couple of books (links here to Amazon (not an affiliate link) but also sold locally at Lyngso Garden Materials) have been helpful in re-evaluating the big dig:

Teaming with Microbes, The Organic Gardner's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Lowenfels & Lewis

Teaming with Nutrients, The Organic Gardner's Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition, Lowenfels

Broader efforts are also calling attention to the need to build soil health. focuses on the importance of soil in mitigating the sources of climate change.

Bottom-line: minimizing soil disturbance and providing natural amendments to build soil health and structure are better ways to foster long-term soil health - which translates into a better place for our plants, and the plants of future generations to grow.

In terms of the practical implications to the Beresford flower beds, the goal is to minimize use of chemical fertilizers and rototilling.  Additionally, we want to minimize the amount of bare ground in a flower bed - for many reasons - primary of which is the loss of soil moisture.  Also, weeds are amazing in their ability to tap into existing moisture and spread themselves out over swaths of uncovered dirt.  In the hot season, the uncovered earth rises in temperature, particularly when exposed to the sun, making growing all the more challenging.

We'll use sheet mulching to initially cover the flower beds - saving water and the time otherwise necessary to pull existing weeds and plants out of the beds.  If you're not familiar with sheet mulching,  here's a link to great article from Marin Municipal Water District on the step-by-step process.

Materials needed:
  • recycled cardboard
  • soil amendments
  • compost
  • wood chips
The plan is to have a "Sheet Mulching Day" at the Beresford Park beds.

Please email if you'd be interested in helping out.  The exact day is tbd at the moment as I coordinate acquisition and delivery of materials to the beds in partnership with the Beresford Park landscape crew.


  1. Left bed = 12 x 8 = 96 sq ft
    Middle bed = 39 x 13 = 507 sq ft
    Right bed = 13 x 16 = 208 sq ft
    total sq ft ~ 800

    @ 3 inch depth = 800 x 3 = 2400/324 = 7.4 cubic yards


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Peaches and more

Yesterday we handed out the sweetest of peaches thanks to a generous donation from Circle Foot Permaculture .   Along with the quarts of peaches, we also provided Samaritan House Food Pharmacy clients a handout with nutritional information on peaches - how they impact your blood sugar - and a recipe for a Roasted Peach Parfait.  Here are links to the handout: Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (English) Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (Spanish) It all seems somewhat routine at this point:  gather donations of locally grown produce quickly pull together helpful nutritional information based on the week's donations In retrospect, this is the culmination of 3 years of effort to create a network of local gardeners, foragers and volunteers - with a goal of becoming a reliable source of fresh produce for lower income families struggling with diabetes and other health disorders.    While it has been known for some time that eating fruits & vegetables can positively impact a person's he

The December Garden

Snap Peas (& a garden gnome!) Beresford Park Community Garden December 15, 2021 It's hard to describe just how good the winter gardening is in San Mateo.  While most gardens across the country have long gone into a frosty hibernation - we're, at long last,  getting the rain we've been without for the last 9 months or more.  It's finally time to turn off the irrigation systems and let Mother Nature do her thing.  The new moisture is creating a full-on nutrient soup that flows through our soil, fueling an explosion of activity within the soil food web.   Fungal activity is pushing mushrooms to the surface.  Our favorite spring flowers of nasturtium, poppies, sweat peas, borage and yarrow are in a race to establish their growing territory.  And, thankfully, the newly moist soil makes pulling up oxalis, mallow and bindweed sprouts a bit easier. As you would expect, plants thriving now in the garden were initially planted out in the fall.  Those crowns of cauliflower and

Getting Started: Wine Barrel Planters

Gardening in a small, urban space requires a bit of creativity.  Our challenges are many: buildings & trees frequently block sunlight;  various critters like to snack on new seedlings and just ripe fruits & vegetables; and here in San Mateo, irrigation is a must.  To increase your probability of gardening success, consider adding recycled wine barrels into your urban garden.    Having tried many types of growing containers over the years, the wine barrel has made it to the top of my list.  My galvanized tubs always seemed to need more water than wooden barrels - perhaps due to the different heating/cool properties of the metal vs. wood?  Aesthetically, a recycled barrel looks like it's been there for years - which I love.  And the smell!  There is no comparison. Cost is definitely a consideration.  A wine barrel at Home Depot is $40 whereas a 35 gallon galvanized tub is $55.  You might say that growing in the ground is $0.00 - but in some locations, the extra 18 inches off