A great no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that will give you rich soil, and best of all, it's not labor intensive. The name "Lasagna Gardening" is actually the method of building the garden. You will add layers of organic material that “decompose” over time, and the result will be soil that will help your plants thrive. It's great for the environment, because you use your yard and kitchen waste, and then compost it to make a new garden.
One of the best things about Lasagna Gardening is how easy it is. You don't have to remove existing sod and weeds. You don't have to double dig. In fact, you don't have to work the soil at all. The first layer of your Lasagna Garden consists of cardboard laid directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you've selected for your garden. Wet this layer down to keep everything in place and start the decomposition process. The grass or weeds will break down fairly quickly because they will be smothered by the cardboard, as well as by the materials you're going to layer on top of them. This layer also provides a dark, moist area to attract earthworms that will loosen up the soil as they tunnel through it.
Anything you'd put in a compost pile, you can put into a Lasagna Garden. The materials you put into the garden will break down, providing nutrient-rich, crumbly soil in which to plant. The following materials are all perfect for Lasagna Gardens:
Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
Tea leaves/ tea bags
Shredded newspaper or mail
Trimmings from the garden
You'll want to alternate layers of “BROWNS” such as leaves, shredded newspaper, peat, and pine needles with layers of “GREENS” such as vegetable scraps, garden trimmings, and grass clippings. In general, you want your "brown” layers to be about twice as deep as your “green” layers. What you want at the end of your layering process is a two-foot tall layered bed. You'll be amazed at how much this will shrink down in a few short weeks.
You can make a Lasagna Garden at any time of year. Fall/Early Winter is a great time for many gardeners because of the amount of organic material you can get for free, with all your fallen leaves and yard waste. You can let your Lasagna Garden sit and break down all winter. By spring, it will be ready to plant in with a minimum of effort. Also, fall rains and winter snow will keep the materials in your Lasagna Garden moist, which will help them break down faster.
If you choose to make a Lasagna Garden in spring or summer, you will need to consider adding more "soil-like" amendments to the bed, such as peat or topsoil, so that you can plant in the garden right away. If you make the bed in Spring, layer as many greens and browns as you can, with layers of finished compost, peat, or topsoil interspersed in them. Finish off the entire bed with three or four inches of finished compost or topsoil, and plant. The bed will settle some over the season as the layers underneath decompose.
To maintain the garden, simply add mulch to the top of the bed in the form of straw, grass clippings, or chopped leaves. Once it's established, you will care for a lasagna garden just as you would any other.
While you will be maintaining it the same way you would care for any other garden, you will find that caring for a Lasagna Garden is less work-intensive. You can expect:
FEW WEEDS.....thanks to the cardboard suppressing them from below and the mulch covering the soil from above.
BETTER WATER RETENTION.....due to the fact that compost (which is what you made by layering all of those materials) holds water better than regular garden soil, especially if your native soil is sandy or deficient in organic matter.
LESS NEED TO HAVE TO FERTILIZE..... because you planted your garden in almost pure compost, which is very nutrient-rich.
SOIL EASY TO WORK.....crumbly, loose, and fluffy.
Lasagna Gardening is fun, easy, and allows you to make a new Garden at a much faster rate than the old double-digging method. Now, your only problem will be finding some good HEIRLOOMS SEEDS to fill your new garden!
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