April 22, 2011

Lasagna Gardening

This is a technique to start a new garden bed that I've been dying to try. 

Lasagna Gardening is a concept developed by Patricia Lanza, that focuses on a no digging, no tilling method for creating a garden bed on grass, weeds, or poor soil. The idea is to block the weeds or grass, and then layer organic material on top. It's been said that this method will greatly increase the productivity of your garden!

Here is the recipe

1. Find where you want your new bed to go and try to level the area as much as you can.
2. Cover grass, weeds, or soil with wet newspaper or cardboard. This will kill whatever is underneath.
3. Water it down. 
4. Add about 2 inches of peat moss. Water this down as well. Try using the mist setting on your hose as peat moss tends to repel water if it has dried out.
5. Next, you want to add layers of organic material. Lanza suggests alternating between carbon rich material (brown), nitrogen rich material (green), and peat moss. 
  • Carbon Rich: dead leaves, straw or hay, small twigs, wood chips
  • Nitrogen Rich: Grass clippings, manure, leftover vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds (you can get free coffee grounds for your garden at your local coffee shop)
6. Your garden box should be anywhere from 12-24 inches deep.
7. Finish with a layer of compost or mulch
8. If you can place a plastic tarp over your garden for a week to help heat up your layers, this will assist in the composting.

(picture from http://ucanr.org)

I used the "Spring method" which involved using mostly brown material for layering and not as many layers. It's possible to plant the same day with the above method. Being in a cooler climate means my Lasagna Garden will not break down as fast as I would like it to. 

Here's how I did it:

My shiny new garden box contained part old garden dirt and part grass. I covered the dirt and grass with newspaper (I used a thickness of two sheets, see below). You shouldn't stand in your garden bed, by they way, as it compacts the soil. So do as I say, not as I do!

I watered down the newspaper to help keep it in place (below).

I added 2 inches of peat moss and watered it down again.

I added compost from my bin, and more peat moss.  

I added top soil from the garden store. Next, I will add my transplants and mulch to keep the soil warm.

You can also do this in your containers as well to create nice, fluffy, nutrient-rich soil!

Is anyone else craving lasagna now?
Image from this fabulous recipe: http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/2006/08/17/my-mothers-lasagna/
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