How to Implement Lasagna Gardening This Year

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Lasagna gardening might be for you if you want to create a rich, fertile garden soil you don’t have to weed, till, or water! Sound too good to be true? Keep reading and learn about organic gardening using lasagna beds!

Lasagna Gardening – Perfect for Earth Friendly, Lazy Gardeners

No, we aren’t talking about growing lasagna in your garden. But if you’re looking for a delicious lasagna recipe, we do recommend this one! Wouldn’t it be nice if it would grow in the garden? LOL.

Instead, we’re talking about building raised beds the cheap and easy way using whatever resources you have on hand or can source locally – all without digging or tilling. 

Contributor Honey Rowland talks us through how to implement the lasagna gardening method to create lush, fertile gardens.

What is Lasagna Gardening?

The Lasagna Gardening Method is a gardening style where you layer organic materials and do not till or dig and give the bed time to break down into fluffy, rich soil full of nutrients and less weeds. 

How does Lasagna Gardening Work?

Lasagna gardening is a no-till, no-dig gardening system. Using common waste materials you may have in abundance around your homestead, you create a rich garden that will grow in a seemingly effortless manner.

Lasagna gardening allows you to expend little energy and strength while preventing the seed bed from being disturbed.  As the materials compost or break down they turn into soft, fluffy soil which allows you to plant easily in the soil next year.

What are Lasagna Gardening Layers?

A lasagna garden bed is essentially a lot of layers: thick brown materials, thinner green materials, soil, and straw, with a bottom of cardboard or newspapers to keep the weeds from growing. The goal is to create a rich biome full of earthworms and other beneficial creatures to help you in your garden endeavors.

To make lasagna garden beds, use any waste and excess you may have. Simply layer them where you want your bed to be.  

Don’t have your own materials for your lasagna garden beds? Here’s where you may be able to find lots of mulch for free!

How to make lasagna garden beds?

  1. Decide on the layout of your garden beds and section them off using boards, rocks, string or the like.
  2. Then, lay black and white newspaper or cardboard down to kill the grass. Make sure to overlap it so weeds can’t get through. Water the paper or cardboard well.
  3. Next, add brown materials: peat moss, hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, wood chips, shredded newspaper etc. Brown layers should be dry and bulky. You want a thick layer of brown materials, like 5 inches. 
  4. On top of the brown, now add a thin layer of nitrogen rich greens. Green materials include manure, fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, animal bedding, grass clippings, coffee grounds etc. Green materials are dense and moist. These materials will work with the brown material to break down into a nutrient rich soil.
  5. Top your beds with 5 inches of garden soil and come spring, you’ll be ready to plant with zero tilling!
  6. After planting, top your bed with 6 inches of straw. This will provide a lovely layer of mulch that will break down and enrich your garden beds even more.

Make sure to water each layer, especially the cardboard before adding another layer.  Also, remember to layer a thick brown layer with a thin green layer.  Honestly you’re basically composting in the shape of your garden bed.  You do not turn or till or dig when you’re building a lasagna gardening bed.  

I would recommend putting wood chips down on walkways between your beds to help keep weeds away, the walkways from becoming compacted and an additional nutrient source to add to the top of your bed come spring when you add fresh mulch to the walkways.

When is the best time to start your lasagna garden?

While you can start your lasagna garden any time, you might want to consider the fall. It’s best time to start your lasagna beds is in the fall when leaves and other dried brown materials are plentiful, but you can start them anytime you want.

If you start in the fall, you may be able to skip step 5 outlined above because your layers will have adequate time in the fall and winter to break down into rich soil before spring planting.

How Do You Use Lasagna Garden Beds

Once the layers have cooked down you will plant into the soil the same as any other soil.  You can often begin gardening earlier since it is a raised bed and as such will drain cold spring rains better. 

After planting your lasagna gardening bed cover it with dried grass clippings, straw or hay.  You can even use wood mulch or chips though I prefer them for my walkways if you don’t have easy access to them. 

How Long Do Lasagna Garden Beds Last?

Your lasagna gardening beds will last as long as you use them. If you do not use something on the side to help hold the soil up in the raised bed style it will eventually fall into your walkway.  

You also do not want to walk on it as if you do it will compress the soil and counteract the whole point of that fluffy soil. Every fall, be sure to add more compost, leaves, straw or hay, to your beds. Doing so will keep the soil rich and fertile and build the soil for successful garden seasons.

A Word of Caution About Lasagna Gardening Method

Some people think lasagna gardening can look unkempt. Often there is hay or straw, some leaves, hanging out of the garden beds. 

If you have a Type A personality and want beautifully defined garden beds, build sides to maintain that ‘proper’ edging. Sides are good as they keep your lovely soil exactly where you want it and helps to prevent others from walking through the garden beds.

If you liked this post on organic growing methods, you might like these posts too:

How to Get Stared with Worm Composting

How to Keep your Compost Active all Winter

10 Practical Gardening Tips to Help Your Garden Thrive

Have you ever used the Lasagna Gardening Method?  If you have what do you think about it?

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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