Sheet Mulching and More: How to Compost Your Move
House Move Waste Perfect for the Garden
Only a few weeks ago I claimed that you know when you’re a hippy when you take your compost with you when moving house. Now I’m rethinking that statement – you know when you’re a hippy when you not only move your compost, but you compost your move too. You see, as we all know, moving creates a lot of trash – and much of it is cardboard and newspaper (preferably reclaimed from your local co-op!). And seeing as we are in a new house, with plenty of weeding to do, and plenty of compost needed in the near future – we thought that the best way to get rid of all this waste was to use it in the garden. Cardboard boxes were stripped of tape, flattened and laid out over weeds – they’ll then be covered with topsoil, compost and other organic matter. This is a technique much loved by permaculturists, known as sheet mulching, and can be a great way to tame unruly weeds. When you need to plant something, you simply dig down, puncture a hole in the cardboard, and plant straight through.
Crumpled newspaper, smaller cardboard boxes and random bits of cardboard were all added to the compost heap, mixed with a good deal of cleared plants and weeds, a dollop of our previous compost, some coffee grounds, and a generous sprinkling of the author’s pee. If our previous attempts at this high-fibre method of composting are anything to go by, we should have dark, crumbly, fertile compost by spring. For more on sheet mulching, check out Agroforestry.net, and for more on high-fibre composting, take a look at the Wikipedia entry. And for those readers who raised concerns about adding toxins to the soil, from sounding out fellow TreeHuggers it seemed there was a consensus that corrugated cardboard or newspaper is probably OK, but you may want to go easy on waxed cartons and the like.
More on Composting
High-Fibre Composting Works
Green Basics: Compost
Compost Conundrum: Backyard Box, Indoor Bin, Or Can-O-Worms
TreeHugger Picks: For the Domestic Composter
More on Gardening and Permaculture
How to Green Your Gardening
Backyard Permaculture in Oregon