Sheet mulching is probably the best way to build organic matter and microorganisms in the soil. By composting in place you are allowing all the by-products of composting to actually be utilized by the plants you are trying to benefit. Every time you turn a compost pile or dig your compost to bring it to the garden you are killing millions of organisms simply by exposing them to air and sunshine. Also, there are colonies of fungi and bacteria that are busily creating a network of communication and chemistry all beneficial to our plants. So composting in place is preferred, also called sheet composting or sheet mulching.
There as many different techniques for sheet mulching. Some basic concepts should be kept in mind such as, just like building a compost pile you want about equal amounts of brown carbon source and green nitrogen sources (manure being a nitrogen source though not green), watering all the layers well.
Sheet mulching can be as easy as placing layers of cardboard down followed by wood chips on top or as extravagant as a 16 layer cake.
Below is a list of some good materials for sheet mulching.
"greens" or nitrogen-rich materials:
And "browns" that are carbon-rich materials use:
wood shavings or chips
You want to alternate the greens and the browns and also layer in some compost to introduce micro and macro-organisms into the pile.
Finish your sheet mulching project up with some wood chips to encourage fungal microorganisms, increasing diversity and resilience.
Click on the picture below and start the slide
show which depicts a sheet mulching project
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