Sheet mulching in 6 steps

In November I did some sheet mulching on one of the beds of my garden. The mulching procedure was inspired by the book Gaia’s garden.

The material used for the mulching:

  • organic matter
  • cow manure
  • cartoon
  • straw

Step 1: Cut all the vegetation and leave all the organic matter on the ground. In my case the bed there was nothing covering the soil, so I put some fern on the ground.

Step 2: Add cow manure. You could use any kind of manure or the compost, just make sure you spread it well and that the layer is not too thick.

Step 3: Add a layer of cardboard without any tape or staples and afterwards wet it abundantly or, even better, soak it in the water before.

Step 4: Add another layer of cow manure.

Step 5: Add straw. I divided the bales into several plies and then put two layers of them on the bed. Once the straw is on the bed water abundantly.

Step 6: On the top put another layer of organic matter; I put the mixture of fresh and dry fern. Even better option is to put extra layer of compost first and then some dry organic matter like straw or wood shavings.

I recommend you to…

+ Gather enough material for the area you want to mulch. It is preferable to mulch a smaller area with thick layer than the other way round.

+ Pick the organic material without seeds. You can see on the last photo from January that there is already some wheat growing, which is good only in case you want to grow wheat in your garden.

+ The best timing to do the mulching is in autumn so the material is decomposing throughout the winter and the mulch is ready for seeding till spring.

Interesting links:

– Website of the author of Gaia’s garden:


4 thoughts on “Sheet mulching in 6 steps

  1. Great job! Can I ask how big the garden is, how thick you mulched, and how much material you went through? I’m going to be working with a couple of newbie permies next month to do some serious mulching, but we have a pretty large space so the technique might have to be modified.

    Also is this sheet mulching? Or lasagna mulching? I always get the terms mixed up.

    • Hi Isaac,
      I made sheet mulching just on one bed, the one that you can see on the picture. Currently I’m trying out various methods to improve the soil and conditions at the garden.
      The mulch is about 30 cm thick, and I used one bale of straw for it and quite a lot of cartoon and ferns. In my opinion it is better to start small to get the perception of how much material you really need. The number of layers and the materials you use can vary. It depends pretty much on what material you have within reach. I’ve just described my combination as an example

      I did sheet mulching and apparently this is a technique that is widely used in so called lasagna gardening. 🙂

      Good luck with mulching!

  2. Pingback: Hot composting | Vesna Primavera

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