Lasagna Gardening - Ellen Brown


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Lasagna Gardening - Ellen Brown

  1. 1. LASAGNA GARDENINGLasagna gardening isnt about growing lasagna, and it isnt about growing the great vegetablesand herbs found in lasagna recipes. Instead, lasagna gardening is a timesaving organic gardeningmethod developed by gardener and writer, Patricia Lanza, which requires no digging, no tillingand no sod removal. Too good to be true? Read on.A Garden of LayersLasagna Gardening is a nontraditional organic gardening method that relies on a layering methodcalled "sheet composting." The name "Lasagna," comes from the way garden beds are createdfrom layers, the same way you layer ingredients when making a pan of lasagna. Watering andweeding are reduced through the heavy layers of mulch and by planting crops close together. Thelasagna layering method quickly builds soils that are incredibly rich in nutrients, resulting inhigher than average garden productivity. The method also works great for container gardening.What Makes It DifferentThick layers of organic mulch are the main ingredients of every lasagna garden. Chopped leaves,grass clippings, straw, hay, sawdust, wood ash, compost, animal manure, newspaper, etc., arejust some of the materials that might made up the layers of a lasagna garden. Individual materialswill vary in each individuals garden according to what is available locally.How Do You Make a Lasagna Garden?To make a lasagna garden you stake out your garden site and begin building up the beds layer bylayer. The first layer involves laying down something heavy over sod, like thick pads ofnewspaper or flattened cardboard boxes, to kill the existing grass. The next layer should consistof 2-3 inches of a water absorbent material like coir, or peat moss. I recommend coir because ofthe growing environmental damage caused by extracting peat from bogs. Next, a 4-8 inch layerof organic material, such as compost, is spread over the coir layer. Another layer of coir, or apeat alternative would be added on top of that, and then yet another layer of organic material,like grass clippings on top of the coir, and on and on until the beds reach 18-24 inches high.Finally, the tops of the piles may be sprinkled lightly with bone meal and wood ash for addedphosphorus and potassium."Baking" the BedsAt this point, some gardeners elect to "cook" their lasagna gardens (give the layers of mulch timeto breakdown). This reduces the height of the beds and produces high-quality workable soil morequickly. Cooking the beds is optional, but certainly not necessary. One of the greatest advantagesto the lasagna gardening method is that you can layer your beds and plant your crops all in thesame day. 1
  2. 2. Planting a Lasagna GardenWhen youre planting a lasagna garden, no digging is required. For transplants, simply pull backthe layers of mulch, drop in the plant and pull some mulching materials back over the roots.Sowing seeds is easy, too. Sprinkle a little finished compost over the area you want to plant, sowthe seed, and cover it with a little more of the finished compost. Press down on the bed to securethe seeds and water thoroughly. Its that easy!Because it uses no power tools, heavy equipment or expensive commercial additives, lasagnagardening is an easy way for people with space, age or physical limitations to maintain gardenproductivity. For more information on this easy, stress-free method of organic gardening, readPatricia Lanzas book, Lasagna Gardening.About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner ofSustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses andorganizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at are no hard and fast rules about what to use for your layers, just so long as its organic anddoesnt contain any protein (fat, meat, or bone). The basics of making garden lasagnas aresimple: Dont remove the sod or do any extra work, like removing weeds or rocks. Mark the area for your garden using a water hose or a long rope to get the desired shape. Cover the area youve marked with wet newspapers, overlapping the edges (5 or more sheets per layer). Cover the paper with one to two inches of peat moss or other organic material. Layer several inches of organic material on top of the peat moss. Continue to alternate layers of peat moss and organic material, until desired thickness is reached. Water until the garden is the consistency of a damp sponge. Plant, plant, plant and mulch, mulch, mulch.Theres no such thing as work-free gardening, but the lasagna method is close. Once you trainyourself to think layering, and learn to stockpile your ingredients, you will work less each year. 2