Sheet mulching involves laying down a sheet of a solid, but biodegradable, material like newspaper, corrugated cardboard, or burlap (I like cardboard). This material must be water permeable and should block light. It needs to be biodegradable so over time it will feed the soil.
|Here is the cardboard layer. I am sure the neighbors love this look!|
You then cover this with mulch (this year I used free wood chips from the city). During the growing season it will smother weeds and deprive them of light. It will also slowly break down and build up your soil. An extra bonus is that you help keep materials out of land fills.
That is the good part of sheet mulching. The bad is minimal. You do have to plan ahead and accumulate enough of the material you use for the bottom layer. I collect big boxes from work and grocery stores for weeks in preparation to sheet mulch. Not difficult, you just have to plan ahead. Second, weeds do still pop up in places where boxes meet (and I do not do a good job of overlapping them). They also thrive around the edge of the garden. This, however, is a heck of a lot less weeds than I would have if I did not sheet mulch.