easiest way to build a new vegetable garden bed this fall is to sheet mulch. It spares your back and
enriches the soil in a few easy steps. We sheet mulched a small patch of lawn
to show you how it’s done. You can use this technique over lawn or any uncultivated
soil. You can even use sheet mulching to clear an existing weedy vegetable
garden--and enrich the soil.
your new vegetable garden in a sunny area. Water the soil well if it’s dry.
a thick layer (at least two inches) of compost or ground-up organic material to
completely cover the area.
on a layer of fertilizer, preferably a complete organic fertilizer. Chicken manure or any
granular fertilizer with N-P-K will work, though. Water again.
out a sheet of newspaper and water it down. Add up to ten sheets of newspaper,
watering between each one. Or, break down cardboard boxes and spread the cardboard
in a single layer.
Overlap the edges of newspaper or cardboard to form a solid layer with no gaps.
Then sprinkle a thin layer of compost or clean soil on top of the newspapers
and water well. The water and top layer of compost will prevent the sheets from
don’t need to do a thing until next March or April. If there is still a solid
layer of newspaper remaining in spring, remove it and add it to your compost
bin or yard waste. If it’s broken down well enough, you can turn the fragments
into the soil.
Depending on its texture
and tilth, you may want to turn the soil with a garden spade or fork—or you can
rototill it. When the soil texture is to your liking, add a little compost and
more complete organic fertilizer and begin planting your early-season crops.