Lasagna Garden

Ha! I bet you think I'm going to write something witty about a pasta dinner gone wrong or something like that.

But no, today you will get a treat and learn from my gardening wisdom. I have so little of it, that when I do know something I guess you better listen.

Have you ever wanted to have a little extra garden space but didn't feel like digging out the sod, weeding, or preparing the ground with tilling? I learned this little technique and it takes a little more pre-planning but is definitely worth it. Simply, lasagna gardening is when you put layer upon layer of materials on an area that you want to turn into a garden space for either vegetables or plants.

First thing you want to do is define the area by laying down a rope or hose. We chose this area between two other beds for a couple of reasons. There is a Russian Sage bush on the right which is so big in the summer that it leans over in the space anyway. Then it gets loaded with bees that you can't walk through. Plus it's now sending up runners in the grass so bad that you can't dig them out. And those large orange poppies are spreading into the lawn too. So this seemed like a good enough place as any.

The part about pre-planning comes with saving up newspapers and any kind of green and brown material that will fill your space. Take newspapers and totally cover the area, about 3-4 layers deep, then water good. We happened to do this on a breezy day and had papers flying everywhere so please start on a nice calm day. The newspaper will break down in time as well as the grass. The moist darkness will also invite earthworms which will help in the mulching process.
After the paper was laid, we put down some pine needles that we had saved, then some old lawn clippings that my husband had put in trash cans. Oh my, they stunk like a barnyard but the new garden will love it. Then he mulched some leaves from last fall and we just kept layering.

If you're not going to use the space for awhile you can compost right in it by dumping your kitchen waste among the layers. We have a couple of compost bins going all the time so no need for us to do that.

We found more pine needles so on they went to, it was fun looking around for different things to throw in. Can't you tell that my daughter is having a good time?

I had a couple bags of shredded paper so I dumped that on too. I acted like a wild woman and shredded any paper around the house that wasn't important. It's a good way to get rid of old bank statements. My daughter and I also tore a bunch of newspapers into strips and threw that on.

Freshly mowed grass went on next as well as some old tulip tops and peony tree blossoms just to make it all perty. It's important to water good with each layer added. You want it nice and soggy.

The last thing we did was empty one compost bin to cover the entire area. In all, you will want at least a foot deep of brown and green material. Even with all we put on, we are about 6 inches short. I guess I underestimated the amount of material we needed. Well that, and I'm impatient when I want to get a project started.

Since we don't have enough depth for any major planting we will just put some extra zucchini and cuke seeds in. Then in the fall after the veggies are done producing well throw the plants on top too. After all that hard work it's necessary to stake it off so the dog can't get in it. She would think it was her own private digging area or potty patch.

So there you have it, instant (almost) garden area!


ethelmaepotter! said…
Wow, I have never heard this term before, but I am totally intrigued. You must show us photos all along the way!
Grumpy said…
I never heard of it either. Although in a space that size I'm not sure I couldn't just dig it and till it with less effort.
kden said…
Geez, where is the fun in that Grumpy? No getting back to nature? No going green? No challenge? And no wife telling you that you're doing it wrong......again?
Signe said…
That's pretty cool! composting, recycling & gardening in one. Definitely would like to see pics as you go as well.

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