Permaculture Baby Steps

There is 10 cubic yards of mulch sitting in my front yard. The plan to sheet mulch my new front yard is actually moving forward!

Right now my sad front yard is a big sand pit full of nutsedge and spotted spurge. We’ll be planting fruit trees in the fall, but first I have to get some organic matter into this soil and most importantly, cover the bare sand.

Sheet mulching seems to be the most efficient way to do this. Sheet mulching kills the weeds by smothering them beneath a thick layer of cardboard, manure, and mulch. The weeds and manure compost quickly beneath the cardboard, enriching the soil and adding much-needed humus, and eventually the cardboard itself breaks down and adds even more. As time goes on the sheet mulching breaks down into soil, and you just keep adding compost and mulch on top of it in layers.

Graphic courtesy of

Yesterday I called Wood Resource Recovery to schedule a mulch delivery for Friday or maybe even Tuesday. Somehow a miracle happened and the guy was available that afternoon. It all happened so quickly. Their “enviro-mulch”, which is shredded yard and tree-trimming waste, is $10 per cubic yard. I had $150 to spend, so I bought 10 cubic yards of mulch, spent $25 on the delivery fee, and I’ll be spending the remaining $25 on straw. Then a friend offered as much free alpaca and chicken manure as I could haul away, and we figured a way to transport a large amount in my mini-van. This is all just… coming together.

The goal this weekend is to get 1/3 to 1/2 of the front yard sheet mulched, the area closest to the house which has the most bare sand. This is the part of the yard where we’ll be planting fruit trees and large bushes, which will eventually fill in enough to shade the south-facing front of the house and front walkway.

If (and this is a big “if”) we get the sheet mulching down by Sunday evening, then Monday I’ll be building my first herb spiral with the coquina we’re pulling out of the front yard.

I cannot even describe how eager and excited I am to finally be doing what I’ve been reading, dreaming, and planning for so many months. This is the right time. Since this project is so big and I want to be able to document it so others feel completely empowered to rip up their grass to grow food, I’m starting a new category on this blog for the Permaculture Project.

If you’ve sheet-mulched before, give me advice! If you haven’t, wish me luck!

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