This week the Garden Project of Southwest Colorado prepped their community garden at the Commons Building for next years growing season. Volunteers turned out Tuesday to help with the sheet mulching, a fast, labor-saving technique used for building garden beds and suppresing weeds. Instead of disrupting soil by pulling out sod, tilling or digging, sheet mulching builds the soil on top of whats already there. Heres how it works: A weed barrier of newspaper and cardboard is placed on the ground to smother grasses and weeds. Next, a layer of manure or compost is spread evenly across the barrier. Finally, the top dressing applied is composed of leaves, straw, twigs or anything mimics the newly fallen organic matter of the forest.

Jon Clayshulte spreads alpaca manure on top of the weed
barrier. Gathering a bit of dirt to mix in with the manure. Rachel Rogers preps the area for sheet mulching. Patrick Crowell pours water over the cardboard to facilitate
decomposition. Freshly fallen leaves are raked over the final layer. The weed barrier is placed directly on top of the existing