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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.  SoilSolution.org 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 bill@growsanmateo.org 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.

Comments

  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

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