Lasagna gardening

Lasagna gardening is a no-till organic gardening method using your yard and kitchen waste and composting it in place to make a new garden.  Also known as “sheet composting,” lasagna gardening is extremely low maintenance, requires less water, and builds incredible soil quickly through the layering of organic matter.  “Composting in Place” is another way to think about lasagna gardening and comes in handy when you are turning over your cover crop.

At the Bounty Farm demonstration garden, I implemented lasagna gardening in one of the raised beds.  This saved me from having to buy extra soil to fill that bed, as I just put the rotting cover crop (oats) in the bottom of the bed, kitchen scraps on top of that, newspaper on top of that, and finally, some compost on the very top.  Photos below.

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How to Lasagna Garden

In the first layer use brown corrugated cardboard or three layers of newspaper laid directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you’ve selected for your garden. Wet this layer down to keep everything in place and start the decomposition process. This layer provides a dark, moist area to attract earthworms.

Anything you’d put in a compost pile, you can put into a lasagna garden. Use kitchen scraps (fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, eggs shells, tea bags ), grass clippings, leaves, chicken or duck manure, compost, shredded newspaper, yard scraps, and peat moss.

Alternate layers of “browns” such as dead leaves, shredded newspaper, peat, and pine needles with layers of “greens” such as vegetable scraps, yard trimmings, and grass clippings, with your “brown” layers about twice as deep as your “green” layers. Aim for a two-foot tall layered bed once all the material has broken down.  Keep the materials in your lasagna garden moist to help them break down faster. Be sure to add mulch to the top of the bed to help your garden retain water. Once it’s established, you will care for a lasagna garden just as you would any other.

However, you can start it in the spring and just add more soil-like amendments to the bed so that you can plant in the garden right away.   Approach planting as you would any other garden.  If you used cardboard on the bottom, you may have to cut a hole in it at each spot where you want to plant something.