Sheet mulching! Take one

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Last week in gardening class we learned more about sheet mulching, or lasagna gardening. This is a way of creating a garden bed without the need for “walls” or a truck-load of top soil. Basically, you layer your yard waste in such as way that creates a rich soil for your plants. In class, we added a small area to an already existing bed.


  • cardboard
  • “green” waste – aka nitrogen rich, like grass clippings, food waste, or manure
  • “brown” waste – aka carbon rich, like leaves
  • watering hose
  • pitchfork
  • shovel or rake

We first threw down a layer of food waste, about 2 inches thick, then watered it in.

Next, we added overlapping pieces of cardboard, about two or three layers thick. The cardboard keeps weeds or grass from getting through, so you don’t need to cut away the sod underneath.  Give this layer a good long soak with the hose or even leave it for a couple of days.

Then, alternate layers of green and brown, about two of each, watering in between each layer.

You can end with some finished (screening is not necessary) compost and some leaves to cover the top.

Planting can be done right away.

You can sheet mulch any time of the year. The layers will break down over time and combine a little more to give you a really rich soil you can garden in year after year.


Already created bed – the new area will be added to the end.


Food waste from the compost pile


Overlapping layers of cardboard being watered in.


More food waste being added – you can also add another nitrogen rich source like grass clippings.


Yard waste – grass clippings and straw from the hen house.


A layer of brown (carbon) rich leaves being watered in.


Finished compost


More leaves being added as mulch.


Add your starts or seeds.


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