Rainy Days and Sheet Mulch

Yesterday, our long and glorious hot spell ended with some misty rain. As soon as it started, I ran outside to start the sheet mulch bed I’m starting on the south side of the house for the tomatoes next spring.

There are few places in our planting area in which I have enough vertical space and sun to grow the amount of tomatoes we produce each year. Consequently, it is hard to rotate the crops. So in my hunt for all things plant-able, I decided to take over an unused stretch on the south side of our house, currently the home of a non-producing banana tree and some perennial vegetables (arugula, sorrel, and a sage plant).

It will be a pain to get that spot watered, as it is nowhere near a spigot, but I’ll figure that out later. Yesterday’s task was just to start the sheet mulch bed so that it would be broken-down and ready for planting by March of next year.





First, I laid down some cardboard boxes and newspaper I had saved up, and let the rain drench that layer.

newspaper on ground for sheet mulch bed

Then, saying a prayer of thanks to the sheet mulch gods, I laid down a layer of soiled straw from the chicken coop and run. It was about 4-5 inches high after I finished.

soiled hay for the second layer of sheet mulch bed

I’ll keep adding soiled straw and wetting it until it’s about 8 inches high. Then I’ll put down finished compost from our pile, supplemented with dirt, and pile clean straw on top of that. I’m sure there are much more specific ways to build a sheet mulch pile, but I tend to just use what I’ve got, and go from there.

I’m not a very precise farmin’ type o’gal.

If all goes well, I’ll have space and good, rich soil for 8-9 tomato vines in March.



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