We did it! Site Preparation Workday #1 at Matilija SYH

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We had about 25 volunteers, with students, parents, grandparents and community volunteers, including Charles Duncan with the Ojai Master Gardeners and Peter Bowen and Randy Roth representing the Ojai Rotary and Matilija Principal Emily Mostovoy. . .

. . .along with 13 volunteers from the California Conservation Corps who did most of  the “heavy lifting” moving rocks, preparing pathways and the 20′ circular planter in the middle of the Schoolyard Habitat.

The CCC crew working on central planter, with a student cleaning up the cardboard ( in the shade) in preparation for sheet mulching.

Below, students, parents and a grandparent are busy spreading mulch and cleaning the cardboard to prepare for “sheet mulching” where:

1-the ground is first cleared of rocks and weeds;
2-the ground is sprayed with compost tea:
3-then a layer of cardboard is spread on top of the ground;
4- 8″- 12″ of mulch spread on top of the cardboard and watered in.

Sheet mulching provides a barrier to suppress existing weed seeds  and help retain moisture in the soil.  This allows rain water to be percolate into the soil following the “slows it, spread it and sink it” concept to keep rainwater on site and prevent runoff.

Father & son work together spreading mulch

Below students clean cardboard and move mulch onto cardboard. In the back ground, wheel barrows of mulch are being dropped onto cardboard.

The workday is finished, with pathway created down to central planter, and Phase 1 planting areas covered in cardboard and mulch wait to be watered in.

The Matilija SYH site after Site Preparation #1 Workday

Just in time for the rain.. on Wednesday, October 5 we received our first rain of the season, where 1.3″ fell onto the SYH site.  The rainwater sinks into the SYH mulched site, compared to the puddling of water under the oak tree, where the soil is compacted and takes a while to sink in.

The SYH site captures the "first flush" of rain on October 5, 2011

rain water under oak tree puddles next to the Schoolyard Habitat area