The first time I heard the phrase “lasagna gardening” I was a bit confused. I wondered, “How do you grow pasta in a vegetable gardening?!?”.
My friend finally explained to me that it had nothing to do with pasta or Italian cuisine.
The lasagna gardening technique has been around for a very long time, but was revolutionized by Patricia Lanza, who wrote the very popular book, of course, Lasagna Gardening.
What Is Lasagna Gardening?
Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till, weed-free gardening system that consists of layering organic material in a way to form a garden bed.
It has also been referred to as sheet mulching, sheet gardening, or sheet composting.
The organic materials are layered on top of one another much like making a lasagna, hence the name.
This method of gardening results in loose, rich soil that is perfect for growing organic vegetables and herbs.
Creating the Basic Lasagna Garden
One of the greatest advantages to lasagna gardening is just how simple and easy it is.
Everything you use is pretty much the same things you would use to compost. Now you are just adding them directly to form an organic garden bed.
Here’s a basic recipe for creating a lasagna garden of your own.
1. Cover your garden space with a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard. Don’t even worry about what’s underneath, it can be grass or weeds.
You want to use brown corrugated cardboard, or three to five layers of newspaper.
Once you have this layer spread out, wet it down good to keep it from blowing away and jump-start the decomposition.
2. The next layer should be any organic materials that you would normally use in a compost pile. You want to alternate the layers between “green” materials and “brown” materials.
First, put down a thick layer of the green materials – these would be grass clippings, raw vegetable peelings and scraps, herbivore manures, or used coffee grounds.
Next, put down a layer of brown materials – that would be items like dried leaves, aged hay, straw, shredded newspaper, or even dryer lint.
3. Continue to alternate the green and brown layers until your garden bed is eighteen to twenty-four inches tall. The bed of materials will shrink down over time as the materials begin composting.
The best time to start a lasagna garden is in the fall. This will give all the materials a chance to compost down during the winter, and be ready for planting come spring.
You can construct a lasagna garden in the spring, but you should add more soil and finished compost to the mixture so seedlings can be planted right away.
Advantages of Lasagna Gardening
There are many advantages to lasagna gardening. It provides a no-dig, weed-free garden bed which requires far less work to begin and maintain.
You will also need far less fertilizers because of the nutrient rich soil generated by the organic materials used.
Lasagna gardening is perfect for those with limited garden space and much more cost effective over building traditional raised beds.
Disadvantages of Lasagna Gardening
The biggest disadvantage to lasagna gardening is collecting all the needed materials, especially if you have a large garden space. You can always acquire more organic materials from neighbors, relatives, or friends.
I’m sure most of them will be happy to take their grass clippings and leaves off their hands.
Growing Organically With Lasagna Gardening
If you are interested in growing an organic vegetables and don’t want the hassle of removing grass, digging, or battling weeds the lasagna gardening might be just what you need.
It’s a great way to quickly start a vegetable garden with a lot of back breaking work. So, put your tiller for sale on eBay, and start a lasagna garden today!
For more information on lasagna garden, please visit Patricia Lanza’s website Lasagna Gardening.
images courtesy of Flickr user lulu_the _fairy
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