sheet mulch and horse manure questions
I'm new to posting on GardenWeb and this might not be the perfect location to post this, pls let me know if I should also post it elsewhere.
IÃ¯Â¿Â½m looking for some input on my garden revamping strategyÃ¯Â¿Â½
IÃ¯Â¿Â½m looking to remove all the grass in my front yard (this is about 3000+ sf) and replace with all tough, drought tolerant native perennials and shrubs. I am in the District of Columbia.
SoÃ¯Â¿Â½my strategy is to sheet mulch the entire front yard doing the following:
*cut lawn uber short
*dump on aged horse manure now (so, September)
*wet newspaper or cardboard layer
*purchased compost on top as much as I can afford based on the amount of horse manure
* in the SPRING (so, April/May or 6-7 months from now) plant a boat load of plug plants at a high density
The issue for me due to the size of this endeavor is cost. I have access to aged horse manure for freeÃ¯Â¿Â½ Buying compost is pricey at the amount i need..but I will buy it if I really need to. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m looking for some input on the horse manure part of the strategy as I'm pretty urban and horse manure is new territory for meÃ¯Â¿Â½
*any chance I can use all horse manure for this in lieu of compost?
*IÃ¯Â¿Â½ve seen recommendations for the weedblock layer to be both below or above the manure. Seems to make more sense to me to be above to block any errant whatnots from the manure. Thoughts?
*I could also add leaves in the fall on topÃ¯Â¿Â½good idea? Should they be shredded? Do I need to mix them in? Mixing them sounds like more work that I wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t be interested in after spreading 10+yards of manure.
*I can get wood chips for free...but i think they are not a great idea, but maybe a small dose might be OK. Thoughts?
*If i buy aged manure is 6 months of further aging enough insurance again scalding my starts?
Any suggestions to make this better (or to limit my chances of absolute failure) are greatly appreciated!!