Sheet Mulching in January

karcprJanuary 3, 2013

Hi Everyone,
I am new to the forum but I wanted to ask if anyone knows of any locations that may still have organic materials from the fall? Yes, this is January but I was going to do a large sheet mulching project on a piece of my property and while i have plenty of cardboard, I really could use leaves and grass clippings. I may just need to wait until next fall to do this project, however, who knows!

-Chris

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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

If I were to do a sheet mulch at this time of year I'd go buy hay or straw and then pickup wood chips from the city recycle lot.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 10:42AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Karcpr,

I think you're probably right that you'll need to wait till next summer/fall to find grass clippings or fallen leaves. If you really want to test the theory out you could try posting on FreeCycle that you're looking for leaves and see if anybody happens to have any bags of them sitting around that they'd still like to get rid of--but I'd be surprised if you got any--but you never know!

I, too, thought of the possibility of a wood mulch that you could probably find free. If your municipality doesn't have any to give away you can check with some of the tree trimming companies which will often be glad to get rid of some of their chipped tree trimmings. Something else I just thought of! I'm in Thornton and in about a week they have their Xmas tree pickup and then they run those thru a shredder and I believe the result is available for folks to pick up if they want any. Possibly your municipality has something similar!

I agree that hay/straw would be a good alternative to leaves/grass, and if you were able to find somebody who has some that's been sitting around in the weather too long (that it's ruined for feed or other purposes) maybe they'd just be glad to get rid of it and you could get it REALLY cheap. But if you're gonna go with hay/straw, be careful that you don't get something that's half weed seeds which could make a real mess in your yard--especially if you're planning to plant in the area where you're putting the mulch now.

And, while a wood mulch would be great for mashing down and helping to kill whatever is in there now, if you are planning to turn it over and plant in it this coming summer, if you mix a lot of un-decomposed stuff in it, especially a lot of wood which takes a pretty long time to decompose, it'll bind the nitrogen for most or all of next summer and it'll be really hard to successfully grow anything there. By the following summer everything should be decomposed enough that the nitrogen will be back in the soil and you'd have a better growing area than before you did it. So plan ahead for whatever you're eventually gonna do in the area you're gonna mulch.

Something else I just thought of! Somebody around here once mentioned that sometimes ranches/farms/people who have horses will be looking for a way to get rid of the used "bedding" (and such!) from the horses/animals, and whoever it was said they were picking up as much as they wanted--free! Have no idea how you'd go about finding such a place! Depending on where you live you might just happen to know of something near you that you could check! But the same caveat with that! Watch out for stuff with weed seeds if it's gonna make a difference! [Just thought of this! There's a place around here somewhere called the Colorado Horse Rescue. Possibly they'd be glad to have you haul off some of their "used stuff," especially if you were willing to make a contribution to their cause!]

Welcome to RMG,
Skybird

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 12:31PM
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