Friday, June 29, 2007

Medicine Gardens & Herbalism ....

Sheet Mulching, The First Layer

A couple of weekends ago I immersed myself in a subject I've been drawn to for quite a while ... herbalism. Kathleen Maier, a local herbalist was our teacher. Day one was spent discussing medicine gardens, permaculture and the herbs themselves. Permaculture is a land use system stressing ecological working relationships between all things and is built upon the ethic of caring for the earth. Using principles of ecology, appropriate technology such as solar or wind power, sustainable agriculture and the wisdom of indigenous people, permaculture is a system in which all life can and will thrive.

By using the method of sheet mulching, areas where you wish to plant a garden can be prepared without disturbing the soil by tilling. After choosing a spot for the garden, the area is mowed or weeded, saving the clippings and weeds to add to the sight later on. The next step is to put down a layer of cardboard or newspaper and then to thoroughly wet it down.

Adding Compost And Mulch

The next step is to place the clippings on top of the cardboard and a good layer of compost. Finally a 6 inch layer of seedless straw is placed on top of the site. Through the action of weather and decomposition the site will be ready for planting in about 6 months.

This weekend I will use this method to prepare several sites for trees that I plan on planting in the fall. Once the weather cools I will prepare sites for next summer's vegetable garden, using this years vegetable garden strictly for herbs. I will also fence the new vegetable garden since I have difficulty with our overpopulation of deer who insist upon pruning my tomato plants. I use Irish Spring soap and a foul smelling oil spray to help keep them away, but once they are used to the odor of something, they come right on back. Next time the groomer comes to clip the dogs I plan to keep the clipping to sprinkle about the plants. Maybe that will work better!!

More on herbs another time!

1 comment:

Alicia South said...

Hi there, I am an Art Coordinator at Wiley Publishing. We would love to use this photo of sheet mulching in our new book Sustainable Landscaping For Dummies. Could you please contact me at I would love to use this image and will credit you in the book by doing so. We will need a jpg with a larger resolution, but we can talk about that once I hear back from you.
Thank you,
Alicia South
Art Coordinator
Consumer Dummies
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
10475 Crosspoint Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Phone: (317) 572-3000