Lasagna Gardening - Garden Basics

Lasagna gardening is an easy approach to gardening that ignores rototilling or digging. Much as you build a lasagna from layers of noodles, cheese and tomato sauce, a lasagna garden is built on top of the ground by building up layers of mulch, wet newspaper, peat moss and grass clippings.

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You must start building your lasagna garden half a year before you plan to add plants. You need the garden to compost for an entire winter.

Supplies Needed for Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening requires layers of materials that are easy to find. Purchase or gather the following supplies:
Bark mulch
Cardboard boxes
Compost
Grass clippings or kelp
Newspapers
Peat moss
Stakes
Twine
Wood ashes

If you have a wood stove in your home, wood ashes are easy to come by. If not, place ads in area papers. Most people are happy to give away their wood ashes after the winter ends.

Rake grass clippings every time you mow. If you live near the ocean, gather seaweed or kelp when it washes ashore. It’s a great addition to any garden.

Compost your vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, leaves and other organic materials. It is easy to build a square compost bin using 2 x 4s. Look for plans online or at area home building supply stores.

Creating Your Garden Space

The first step to creating a lasagna garden involves finding the optimal garden space. Look for a flat location near your water source—a hose, stream or pond. Use stakes and twine to mark the area. Decide where you want your walking paths and where planting will occur. Place cardboard down for all the walking areas. Overlap wet newspaper in the areas where you plan to plant.

Lasagna Garden

At this point, you have a staked garden area that is completely covered in wet newspaper and cardboard boxes. Cover all wet newspaper with two inches of peat moss. Top that with four inches of grass clippings and then another two inches of compost. Continue the layers until your garden spaces are about two feet high. Cover everything with wood ashes and bark mulch. Leave the entire garden alone until spring.

In the spring, the layers will have decomposed some. Once the soil thaws completely, plant your seeds or seedlings. You will have few weeds to contend with throughout the season and the composted mixture offers more nutrients and holds water better than soil.

Before winter, add a few more layers of peat moss, compost and grass clippings to your lasagna garden. This keeps your vegetable garden area built up.

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