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What is sheet mulching?

After spending a lot of time and backbreaking work to create new garden beds, I was excited to discover a better but slower method: sheet mulching. With this method, you cover the area you want to convert with cardboard and then cover the cardboard with compost, leaves and mulch or wood chips.

The cardboard provides a barrier against weeds (or grass), then breaks down slowly over time, and the compost and wood chips enrich the soil. How long does this process take? That depends on the environment, so I will report back in the spring. We have wet winters in Olympia, and that will be a factor. It looks fantastic! And I can’t believe how easily it came together. We spread the work out a bit, and that helped, too. Everything came together except the wood chips. We just couldn’t find an affordable and convenient source. I thought we would have to shovel our own at a local tree company pick-up site once the weather improved.

And then…
Every day, Robert and I ask each other, What surprised you today?

After being on the list for ChipDrop for over two years, we got our first drop! And it was huge!

ChipDrop connects arborists who have chips with homeowners who need them. I attended a fantastic garden webinar series hosted by Cascade Water Alliance, and nearly every speaker mentioned ChipDrop. Cascade Water Alliance serves King County, which includes the Seattle area. On a map, Seattle seems close, but it definitely is not. I just figured we were too far out.

Until I got the call.

A local tree company had a job in my neighborhood and called me to see if I wanted a drop.

The driver did such a great job dumping it just beyond our rock driveway. After picking river rock, compost and fill dirt out of the driveway, I was happy not to have a repeat of that.

We’ve made a small dent in the pile. Next week it’s supposed to be warmer, so we hope to do more.