Lasagna Gardening – History and how to make a Lasagna garden

Several years ago I heard the term Lasagna Gardening. From what I was told it was a method of gardening that would benefit the garden soil and practiced organic methods. The biggest plus to Lasagna Gardening was that is was a no dig gardening method. Being into experimental gardening I had to find out more about this gardening technique.

The no dig method would work better for me because my soil is abundant clay and rock. I have to add a lot of organic matter to get it workable and remove truckloads of rock Also it was hard for me to find someone to dig and plow my gardens. Yes, unbelievable for a person who lives in the country but it’s true.

There is a book that has been published called Lasagna Gardening that is the best by far on the gardening method. I bought a copy and read up on all the tips and ideas.

This method is called lasagna gardening for two reasons.

  • One you layer different kinds of organic matter in the garden area and plant in the raised beds.
  • The other reason is the name of the lady who created this method was Lanza

Lanza was a military wife who had seven children. They moved because of the service every three years. Gardens improve with proper care every year so it was like going back to base one in gardening time and time again.

Lanza used knowledge gained from helping her grandmother garden in the mountains of Tennessee to help her start a new garden wherever they moved. Tennessee had soil a lot like the area I live in and the soil took work to get it into proper garden shape.

When Lanza went to work and had less time to work in the gardens she began looking for an easier way to garden without all the digging, hoeing and weeding.

Lasagna gardening uses the principles of gathering the organic “lasagna” ingredients used to create layers: newspaper, cardboard, peat moss, animal manures, shredded leaves, grass clippings, vegetable peelings, stalks, coffee grounds, spoiled hay, compost, straw or barn litter.

To make a Lasagna garden outline the area you want to have a garden and put down the layers of ingredients you’ve assembled. The first layer you need something heavy to smother the existing grass and weeds.

Use thick overlapping pads of wet newspaper and cardboard. Next add 3 inches of peat moss followed by 4 to 8 inches of organic mulch material, another layer of peat moss, another of organic mulch until beds are 18 to 24 inches high.

Wet each layer after putting it down. Wetting the layers helps them to start to cook and break down. You can “cook” your lasagna garden by leaving it to heat up and decompose for six weeks. Cover the bed with black plastic and weigh down the edges with bricks. I usually let my new garden cook and break down.

You can also make a lasagna garden from scratch and plant it in the same day. This is good if you are putting in a new garden or want to change the location of your old garden. To plant a quick garden simply pull layers apart, set the plant in the hole, pull mulch back around the roots and water it thoroughly. I prefer to use plants in a fresh lasagna garden but you can also start seeds.

To sow seeds in a newly built garden, spread fine compost or damp peat moss where the seeds are to go. Set the seeds in place and cover with more compost or peat and press down. When the plants have two true leaves pull some of the mulch material around it to keep the soil moist and weed-free.

The advantages of lasagna gardens are less digging, less weeding and improving the soil at the same time you are planting your garden. Lasagna gardens are full of earthworms because it’s basically a compost pile you plant in. And earthworms are great for your soil.

I have used the Lasagna Gardening method for years and think it’s the way to garden. I often combine it with Square foot gardening methods to save on space, water and work. As much as I like gardening I also like my free time so easy gardening is a plus!

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Denise

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