sheet mulching materials - where did you get?

chiaki0730September 15, 2006


I'm plannning to do sheet-mulching in my front yard along the street to make a new flower bed. It's about 60' long x 20-30' wide...

I've been searching "how to" page, but haven't been able to find where I can get these materials...

I already set the plastic edging to protect the area from lawn. My understanding is that I will need grass clipping. I can get alfalfa meal and chicken manure, but no grass clipping so far, and one friend suggested me to have 1-3 inch of them before I cover the area with cardbord...

I'm pretty sure I can find tons of brown leaves in October/November tho...

Please advise!

p.s. btw, I'm not getting any email even though I checked "check here if you would like copies of follow-ups to your message emailed to you" option. Are you getting the emails? Is it only my problem?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day bonzgirl,

nothing is set in cement with any gardening procedures, you can use almost any material that you can source to create a sheet mulch bed aka raised garden aka lasagne garden.

we have illustrations on our site on how we do it take a look see there may be some ideas there for you? it's all basically simple with loads of common sense.

also when doing this type of gardening it is the norm' not to walk on the created bed to prevent compacting so generally beds are created no wider than about 1 meter(4').

oh you should only get an e/m notification when someone responds to yor post ie.,. like now.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

You don't need inches of material and, indeed, don't need to do layers. I put out a layer of 1/2 finished compost and plant right in it- no waiting.

I like taking leaves that others leave st the curb- shred them and lay them out as a mulch. Manure can usually be had for free.

Put down cardboard or several layers of newspaper FIRST to help smother grass/weeds, then lay on the other stuff.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

Try free cycle.

Post you are looking for leaves, yard clippings, cardboard boxes, newspaper, worm castings, what ever you need. Others will be glad to save this stuff for you. You just have to go get it. Worm castings is a long shot as most like to use this themselves. Does not hurt to ask. A few people offered leaves to me on free cycle when I posted for organic leaves. They would say they were organic, but it I asked if they fertilized their yard they said yes. So in my mind they are not organic. I think they thought if the fertilizer was not spread on top of the leaves they were chemical free. Let's see, fertilize the ground, water the ground, tree takes in this water, forms leaves and wa la, leaves have chemicals in them. How is this hard to understand?

Health food store will give you organic veggie scraps. Just call before you go as someone else might have picked them up before you, or they might have already tossed them.

The regular grocery store might give out scraps too.

Star bucks gives away coffee grounds. I do believe the leave the paper filter in there. So you would have to sort that out if you don't want that. I am real picky and bleached coffee filters are not something I want.

You could go to stores to ask if they have cardboard boxes they are tossing out.

Tree trimming companies will deliver a load of wood mulch free. If this is too much, you could share with the neighbors.

Save your own grass clippings. I like to leave them on the yard for the grass to grow with, but I find my veggie garden to be more important.

Ask your friends and neighbors to save their yard debri.

I asked on freecycle for moldy hay,. Within a few hours a horse ranch e-mailed me and said I could have as much as I wanted. The horses could not eat hay that has been in contact with wet ground. They were organic, that was a nice change.

I got 2 rv's full on two different trips. It kept my garden in mulch all summer. Saddly I am allergic to mold so my feet itched when I walked on it. I go barefoot since I can not wear shoes do to being chemically sensitive.

Keep in mind, most freebies will not be organic. Even if they say it is, most have no clue wha thte word means. They say it is organic, then they say, but I do fertilize. I say, I am chemically sensitive, so I am sorry I can't use them. I hope they aren't too offended.

I am getting so sick on not having mulch, and when asking for it being offered chemical treated mulch.

My hubby is going camping on a friend's property in the woods, so he said he will bring me back a few bags of leaves. We all now that won't go far, but it will help.

I am going to plant a oak and that will cure that problem. Oaks shed a lot of leaves. Eventually that is.

Offer to rake someone;s yard, if they give you the leaves. Or offer to mow someone's yard if you can have the clippings. Most would jump at the chance of free yard work.

I hope some of these ideas, get you thinking of your options.

Here is a link that might be useful: freecycle

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you everyone for your advices!

Especially, lakedallasmary... All your ideas are great!

I just got bunch of carboard box from scooter shop where they have huge carbord box, so I don't have to overlap so many times...

As for brown leaves, I posted on craigslist awhile ago, but didn't think of free cycle. Thanks!

Since I'm trying to sheet mulch larger area due to their poor soil, I really want to add as much as organic materials I can. I found a horse farm who will give us the horse manure (not sure how organic it is tho...) next week, I'll put them right on the lawn, then cover with cardboard. I'm planning to pick up coffee ground from local cafe next week, add chicken manure, grass clipping if I can find more, then have the local tree company deliver the free wood chips.

Hopefully these layers will work in to my poor compacted soil turn into better flower bed base.

I'm wondering if I will have to add more ready-compost or topsoil on to it next spring tho... We will see...

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

Sounds like you are on a roll. If I gave you any ideas you did not already have, I am glad you could use them. I have not used them all myself.

Here are things that I have done:

Someone's bags of leaves once blew onto my property. I was going to put them back on the curb, but I put them under a tree - the trash bag!

My husband has picked up veggies scraps at the health food store. Mostly lettuce and tomatoes, but it helps, even if not all that bulky. I have had a tomato volunteer because of this.

I already mentioned the moldy hay, and grass clippings.

I stay home due to my severe reactions to man made chemicals, so I order stuff on-line a lot. I save the boxes. Any I can't use, I free cycle. Many sell stuff on ebay, and love the free boxes and packing peanuts. Someone once told me you can compost those corn packing peanuts, although they just melt when you add water.

I use my own tree leaves but I hate doing this as it leaves the ground under the tree bare. I am going to promise to let the trees have their own leaves this fall.

What else... I also save all organic food scraps. I am the only one that eats organic in my house so it is not much. Bean pods, beet peelings, broccoli peelings, squash shells and seeds, etc. End up with lots of volunteer squash. I also use trimmings from giving my houseplants hair cuts, and dead houseplants. I save this stuff in a zip lock bag in the frig. This saves me from making many trips to the garden to dump it there. I compost in place. I also hate the idea of one of those compost buckets under the sink. I am allergic to mold, so this would not work for me.

I almost forgot all the garden debris. You know, the plants that are done for the year. Corn stalks, sunflower stalks, beans plants, squash plants, beet tops, tomato vines, etc.

I plan to plant a lot of sunflowers next year to block the wind, slow water flow a bit, and cause they are pretty. They should provide lots of mulch material.

I will also be planting lots of wild flowers next year to attract the beneficials. Hmm, will make great mulch!

I would like to get to the point where I am no longer begging for mulch, from outside sources.

I used leaves last fall and by spring I had nice humus. I don't think using compost, if you don't already have some, is really necessary.

I saw a hug pile of wood chips in the park down the street. I called the city to see if I could have some. He said, please take it all.

Apparently they had a bring you tree limbs day and they mulched up every one's limbs. I am using this under my trees due to my allergies. He also said they always have mulch there so I I wanted some to call and they would open the gate.

So if you do not have a local free cycle, call the city to see if they have free mulch.

I have already made 2 trips with my new yellow garden dump wagon to the park, to get chipped trees. I must be a sight, dragging mulch home for over 10 blocks in my wagon. I wear dirty garden clothes. I must look homeless.

On the organic subject:
If mulch materials are left to decompose the (man-made) chemicals will be detoxed so to speak. I was talking to a person that raised worms to sell them and their castings on-line. She said worm castings have been tested for chemicals and their were none. So the worms made the stuff OK to use I suppose. Kinda neat. I think the cities should have garbage, and regular trash separated, and feed the food scraps to the worms, and sell the castings. Cities can always use more revenue. I am a firm believer in governments working for their money, not just taking our money for free.

Many schools already have worms eat their cafeteria waste.

Enough rambling for now.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

In our area- this is "OPL season"- Other people's leaves. I've picked up 15 of those paper lawn bags full of them in the past 3 or so days. After shredding- that's enough to do all my mulching. More will be collected and composted/added to my huge outdoor worm bin/garden.

I'll get 5 bags a day (all that fits in my ugly Subaru Baja) almost every day that I'm not traveling for work for the next few weeks.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 2:35PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Florida Permaculture Design Course 2015
March 16-27, 2015 At Kashi Ashram, 11155 Roseland Road,...
Frost Observation and Protection
During winter I tried to protect plants well with Frost...
Compost Water Heated Greenhouse
Just spent a minute modifying my compost water heater...
Wild Grapes with Black Rot
So, on the margin of my back yard I have some wild,...
Permaculture in structural pest control
Hi! I'm Sean. I operate Ecological Pest Management...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™