Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is Lasagna Gardening?

The term lasagna gardening seems to floating around some of the gardening communities lately. But what is it?

Lasagna Gardening is a garden that is created by layering several different materials, one right after the other, with no need for mixing or tilling. The materials go through natural decomposition that does the work of mixing for you. Another name for this method of gardening is "sheet composting".

You can do a lasagna garden in a container or just right on top of the soil. You will first need to decide which you are doing and where. Then you will need to work on your layers. For your layers you will need some "ingredients". The ingredients that you will need for your lasagna garden are similar to what you would put into a compost pile. Some examples: grass clippings, leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee and tea grounds, weeds (be sure they have not gone to seed), manure, compost, seaweed, shredded paper, pine needles, garden trimmings, peat moss, etc.

You will begin by laying out a layer of cardboard or several water soaked newspapers over the area that will container your lasagna garden. Then you will create a layer of green (materials that are high in nitrogen such as, peat moss, manure, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, grass clippings, etc.) Next is your brown layer (materials that are high in carbon such as leaves, hay, straw, shredded newspaper, egg shells, saw dust, wood ashes). You will continue to alternate layers until your "lasagna" is 2 feet tall. Your final layer on your garden will be compost or manure. (If you keep a compost tumbler or heap this is a great time to use the compost you've been building up in there)

If you are starting your lasagna garden in the fall, it will be ready to plant by spring. However, if you are beginning in the spring, there are a few things you can do to help it be ready to plant almost immediately. While you are creating your lasagna garden add more soil-like amendments when layering, such as, finished compost, peat moss, or topsoil in between each layer. 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.

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