Accessible Gardening: Lasagna Gardening Lasagna gardening starts your garden Making a Lasagna Garden with new soil that you make by layering yard and food waste. Where you make Just like the lasagna you cook, your your soil is where your garden will be. lasagna garden has to be layered in a This takes digging and tilling out of general order. gardening. The layers of yard and food waste will break down, giving nutrient- • The first layer of your lasagna garden rich and easy to work with soil. This is either brown corrugated cardboard breaking down is also called composting. or three layers of newspaper. The Lasagna gardening is also known as space underneath the cardboard and “sheet composting”. newspaper will attract earthworms to your lasagna garden because it is dark and moist. Earthworms help make the waste into soil. Worms will also help keep this new soil loose. • Lay the cardboard or newspaper directly on top of the grass or weeds where you want your garden. The grass or weeds will break down fairly quickly because they will be smothered by the newspaper or cardboard, as well as by the materials you are going to layer on top of them. • Wet this layer down to keep everything in place. Water also helps waste break down. • Put a layer of browns (leaves, shredded paper) on top of the cardboard or newspaper. Put a layer of greens (vegetable scraps, grass clippings) on top of the brown layer. Layer until your lasagna garden is about two feet high.
Making a lasagna garden Advantages(continued) Although a lasagna garden needs to be In general, you want your “brown” cared for the same way you would carelayers to be about twice as deep as your for any other garden, it takes less work.“green” layers. There is no need to get There are a few reasons for this.this exact. Just layer browns and greens,and a lasagna garden will result. What • You will have fewer weeds.you want at the end of your layering The newspaper and cardboardprocess is a two-foot tall layered bed. underneath the garden will keepThe layers will ‘cook down’ (compost) in weeds from coming up from theonly a few weeks. bottom. The mulch you put on top of the garden will keep weeds from sprouting from the top.No Digging • You may not have to water as often. One of the best things about lasagna Compost, what you made by layeringgardening is how easy it is. You do not food and garden waste, holds waterhave to remove grass and weeds before better than regular garden soil.placing your layers of yard and foodwaste. You do not have to double dig. In • You will not need fertilizer. Yourfact, you do not have to work the soil at garden is almost pure compost,all. Lasagna gardening composts lawn which is very nutrient-rich.and food waste in place to make a newgarden. Where you put your layers is • The soil made from building a lasagnawhere your garden will be. garden will be easy to work because it is crumbly, loose, and fluffy. •
Ingredients The yard and food waste you useto make a lasagna garden are brokeninto two groups called the browns andgreens. Browns are: leaves, shreddednewspaper, peat, and pine needles.Greens are: vegetable scraps, gardentrimmings, and grass clippings. Foodwaste cannot be any meat product norhave oils in it. For example, leftoversfrom a stir fry cannot be used becausethey were cooked in oil. However, ifvegetable scraps were not cooked inoil, like leftover steamed vegetables orraw pieces like apple cores, they canbe used. The following materials are allperfect for lasagna gardens:• Grass clippings• Leaves• Fruit and vegetable peels and scraps Planting and caring for a• Coffee grounds lasagna garden• Tea leaves and tea bags When it’s time to plant, just dig down• Weeds (if they haven’t gone to seed) into the bed as you would with any other• Manure garden. If you used newspaper as your bottom layer, the shovel will most likely go• Egg shells right through it to the ground underneath.• Seaweed If you used cardboard, you may have to cut a hole in it at each spot where you want to• Shredded newspaper or junk mail plant.• Pine needles A general rule of thumb is to add mulch to the top of the bed. You can use straw,• Dead flowers grass clippings, bark mulch, or chopped• Trimmings fom the garden leaves. Care for your lasagna garden just as you would a regular garden.• Peat moss
When to make a lasagna will help the waste break down faster. By spring, it will be ready to plant.garden To make a lasagna garden in spring You can make a lasagna garden any or summer, you may need to add peattime of year. However, fall is thought to or top soil. This is so you can plant yourbe the best time to make one. You are garden right away. If you make the bed inable to get a lot of browns all at once, spring, layer as many greens and brownsfor instance fall leaves, and general as you can, with layers of peat or topsoilyard waste from around your yard. Your mixed in. Put three or four inches oflasagna garden has all winter to break topsoil on the top layer, and plant. Thedown. Fall rains and winter snow will bed will settle over the season as thekeep your lasagna garden moist, which layers underneath decompose.Resources There is no right or wrong way to build a lasagna garden. The information in thissheet is a basic guide to building your own. For more details on lasagna gardening,check out these resources: • Visit http://wb.extension.illinois.edu and type ‘lasagna gardening’ into the search box. • Visit http://anr.ext.wvu.edu and find lasagna gardening under the ‘gardens, lawns & landscapes’ section of the website for West Virginia University’s Extension Service. If you would like to talk to someone about accessible gardening, or would like agarden assessment done, call Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints at 800-841-8436. All printed materials are available in braille, electronic format, CD and large print. WVU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution. Support for ‘Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints’ is made possible by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Osteoporosis and Arthritis Program, which is part of the Bureau for Public Health. 6/2011