Sheet Composting  

Sheet Composting

by Farmer Dave
(Northern CA)

Sheet Composting

Sheet Composting

Sheet composting is one of the simplest methods of composting. It entails covering your beds with a two to
six inch layer of organic matter and waiting for it to decompose sufficiently to plant in, or to turn into your garden soil.

There are a number of different materials you can use in the sheet composting process and techniques to speed up and balance the nutrients while decomposition takes place. I have presented a quick guide below followed by a more detailed explanation.

Quick Guide-Sheet Composting
Spread a 2-6 inch layer of carbon and nitrogen (C/N) compostable materials directly on your garden beds and let them slowly break down until you can either plant directly in them or turn them into the soil. The breaking down process will take anywhere from two weeks to a season depending on soil conditions, techniques and
materials.

Common composting Materials:
In compost piles the ideal ratio of browns to greens is 30 parts browns to 1 part greens by weight (about 3-1 in bulk). In sheet composting this is also ideal but I find that anything works and sometimes I use almost all browns or almost all greens. If you cut up or shred your materials they will break down much quicker, this is particularly important when using corn stalks or woody garden refuse. If you use leaves and don’t shred them they should be applied in thin layers. Here are some examples of your compost carbon and nitrogen materials.

Carbon materials- Browns
Leaves
Grasses
Cardboard
Straw
Garden refuse
Corn stalks

Nitrogen materials- Greens
Manure
Green grass clippings
Alfalfa hay
Sea weed
Coffee grounds

Speeding up the decomposition process is enhanced by warm soil conditions, turning your compost into the garden beds, and using earthworms.

If you put the sheet compost on thick enough no weeds will grow through it and it will break down leaving a no till garden patch where you can just separate the mulch and plant.

Reap what you sow eat what you grow!
Farmer Dave

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