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Lasagna Gardening Method

Lasagna Gardening Method


Last Fall, 2012, I decided to build more ‘LASAGNA GARDENS’. I had tried this method Fall of 2011 and found it very effective. Doing this method in Fall gives the layers time to break down and decompose into a rich soil for Spring planting. You might be asking yourself, “What is a LASAGNA GARDEN?” It is a method of building a very fertile soil, which resembles the layers of a lasagna meal. You can build a LASAGNA GARDEN right over grass, weeds, clay soil or sandy soil. It not only gives you a very fertile garden that you can immediately plant in, but also improves the soil beneath the ‘LASAGNA GARDEN’. There is no tilling, no digging and little or no weeding. Plus, less watering is needed. PERFECT!

The three main ingredients to a lasagna garden are BROWN matter, which are dried leaves or straw, called CARBON. The second ingredient is GREEN matter, the NITROGEN which can be grass clippings, green cuttings from your yard waste or kitchen veggie scraps. The third ingredient is WATER. Fall is a perfect time to build the LASAGNA GARDEN, since dried leaves are available for free. You will also need cardboard or newspaper (black & white print). You don’t need to make a huge area, just give it a try. I have done this method in a single 3’ area for a tomato plant. I cut a piece of chicken wire and formed it into a circle and filled the circle with my CARBON & NITROGEN layers. You don’t need the chicken wire, but I wanted to contain the layers. The LASAGNA GARDEN should be around 18”- 24”. Here is how I layer my LASAGNA GARDEN. Let’s get started.

  • 1. The first layer will be your SMOTHER LAYER. This layer is used to kill the grass and weeds. Lay cardboard on the ground, over lapping the cardboard by 8” or so. If you don’t have cardboard, you can use newspaper at least 8 SHEETS thick, making sure you overlap all seams so grass & weeds can’t find their way through the cracks. This is our CARBON LAYER, brown layer. Now water this layer thoroughly. The water will keep the cardboard or newspaper from blowing around. Plus, it must be moist to start decomposing.
  • 2. Now we need a NITROGEN LAYER (green layer). Over the cardboard scatter fresh grass clippings (thin layer, to thick and it will mat & smell). Other green choices could be cuttings from your gardens, like deadheading pieces, old veggie plants like broccoli that is finished, radish tops anything GREEN.
  • 3. Time for another brown layer, CARBON LAYER. This time it will be dried leaves or straw. Remember a THIN layer.
  • 4. Sprinkle a layer of compost over the entire area. This will put beneficial matter into your layers. If you have your own compost, great. If not you can by bags of compost at the big box stores.
  • 5. Keep building these layers until you get it about 18”-24”.
  • 6. Water thoroughly.
  • Over my long Wisconsin Winter my LASAGNA GARDENS are being kept moist with the snow and rain I receive. If you are in a drier climate, you will need to water your LASAGNA GARDEN. This will help in the decomposing of the layers, plus it attracts the worms to your LASAGNA GARDEN. Come Spring you will be amazed at how the layers have decomposed and the LASAGNA GARDEN is now only a few inches high. Worms have now found their way into the LASAGNA GARDEN and are doing a great job at stirring the layers and fertilizing the garden with their castings. Now it is ready to plant in.

    If you are planting transplants or potted plants all you need to do is dig a hole in this fluffy LASAGNA SOIL, place your plant in the hole and gently push the soil around the plant. Water it thoroughly. That’s it. If you want to plant seeds, you will need some soil. Make a narrow indentation in the LASAGNA GARDEN SOIL. Add a couple inches of topsoil along the indentation. Sprinkle your seed on the topsoil and cover the seed with more topsoil, according to the seed packet directions. Gently push the LASAGNA GARDEN SOIL back up around your seedling row. Making sure you just push it up around the row, not over the seed area. Gently water the seeds. The roots will find their way down into the LASAGNA GARDEN SOIL and love the rich, fluffy soil it has made. Roots love to have air in the soil, so make sure you don’t walk on your gardens and compact the soil. That is why you shouldn’t make your garden beds too wide, only wide enough so you can reach in and do the work needed.

    Some people say you can start a LASAGNA GARDEN in Spring, but I have only done the Fall preparation of the LASAGNA GARDEN. This is the second year that I have tried this method of soil preparation. I did start a couple new areas, but also just added the layers over my last years LASAGNA GARDEN BEDS. Fall 2012 I decided to tweek the lasagna layers with a few soil amendments in very small quantities, just a dusting of each. I added wood ash, cottonseed meal, kelp meal, bone meal, garden lime, worm castings, Azomite Rock Dust (trace minerals) and Glacier Rock Dust. I am so anxious to see the results of my nutrient rich soil.

    Hope you find this interesting and informative. Please remember this is MY VERSION of the LASAGNA GARDEN METHOD. I am sure you can find others on the internet. This is what works for me.