You can grow your own food. And we can help!


How do I prepare my weedy backyard for gardening?


One of the easiest ways of starting a garden on any living surface be it weeds, lawn, or some combination of the two is called "sheet mulching." According to this method, you mark off the area where you want your garden to be and spread either nonglossy newspaper or untreated carboard over it. If you're using newspaper, you'll want to use several sheets worth. On a breezy day, you'll need to hold the sheets down with rocks. Once the newspaper or carboard is in place, water it to keep in place and soften it up. You can then proceed to add layers of almost any organic matter you can get your hands on such as glass clippings, leaves, straw. On top of that, you can spread a layer of compost and topsoil. Over time, the grass and weeds below will die and start to decompose adding more organic matter to your soil. The best time to use this method is in the fall so that things can decompose over the winter, but you can also use this method in the spring and summer. If you're going to plant seedlings, you'll need to use a hand trowel to poke through the newspaper or cardboard. Shallow rooting plants like salad greens will germinate in a few inches of topsoil and compost.

Question details

I use sheet composting. It works very well. I cover my cardboard with grass clippings. I do not try to use the patch until the following season.
I created my vegetable garden this way, and added a lot of council supplied mulch on the top.  I  found that the first year things did not do that well, but after six months of adding my own compost to the area, it is now rich and friable, and  very few weeds.  I highy reccomend this method.



Join our e-list to stay in touch





About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

Join our mailing list:


Connect with us:

Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606