Interbay Mulch is a very popular method of gardening developed in Seattle and used in many communtiy gardens.
It uses compost ingredients spread directly on the garden soil instead of waiting for the compost to mature in a bin or barrel.
The layers are things like leaves, grass clippings, newspapers, used coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, cardboard, etc. that are layered brown/green/brown/green, etc. directly on the soil to make a total of 6 inches to 18 inches of compost ingredients. It is thought that this is similar to how good soil forms in nature.
To help the green and brown layers break down into soil faster you add a top covering of burlap. You can buy burlap at a fabric store or ask at your local coffee shop for coffee sacks. The burlap makes a dark environment to speed up the composting process, keeps in moisture, and keeps birds from eating those soil-building worms. Just cut into the burlap where you want to plant something, keeping a few inches of space between plant stems and any mulch.
Lasagna Gardening is similar to the Interbay Mulch Method, but it does not add the burlap step. Both methods work well, but the Interbay Mulch Method works faster in making good, rich soil. So it seems to be the overall winner. You will need to keep the burlap-covered ingredients moist for this to work well.
Sooner than usual, the layers break down into rich compost and soil to feed the growing plants. In the meantime they keep down weeds and bad organisms yet encourage good organisms that help the soil and plants.
Once your mulch ingredient layers are put down and the burlap is added to the top you can’t really add more compost ingredients. So you will need a compost pit or bin of some sort to continue making compost to use elsewhere.
This method might not be suitable for areas with a lot of wildlife as they may decide you are putting out a nice buffet for them. From the linked article: “Skunks, raccoons and such looking to make a meal of the worms and other critters working to break things down under your ‘Humps’. This can be annoying as well as messy. You could place a layer of chicken wire over the burlap and pin it to the ground but critters can be determined if they sense an easy meal is to be had.”
This is a great way to garden as it really cuts down on your work once the plants are planted. You shouldn’t have any weeds to pull, and all you need to do is to keep the burlap wet. That and pick your gorgeous vegetables! I hope this works well for you and helps you enjoy your garden even more this year!
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