Monday, November 14, 2011

Cardboard and Coffee and Mulch, Oh My !

All school year we've been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to expand our Dreamkeeper garden.  So far everything in the garden grows in raised beds, but soon we'll have over 700 linear feet of growing space directly in the ground.

Over the past few weeks we've been collecting a number of materials - cardboard, coffee grounds, horse stable bedding, mulch, and topsoil - for use in building our soil.  On Saturday November 12th we had over 40 volunteers help us start that soil-building process by creating "lasagna layers."

We began with an empty field and a few piles of materials.

First we put down a layer of cardboard to act as a weed barrier and to provide our soil with carbon, one of the important elements in plant growth.

Next we added mulch (brown material on bottom), another carbon source and weed barrier, followed by nitrogen-rich coffee grounds (not pictured), followed by stable bedding (tan material) from Equest Farm at city park.

Finally we added topsoil (dark brown material on top).

With regular watering and the help of our soil decomposers like worms, mites, bacteria and fungi, we'll have beautiful rich soil in just a few months!

A big thank you to all of our volunteers from St. Augustine High School, Xavier Prep, and New Orleans Food and Farm Network!

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