Lasagna Gardening | How to and the Benefits

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The lazy, no till gardening method that works!

Lasagna gardening was first introduced by Patricia Lanza in her book Lasagna Gardening: a New System of Layering for Bountiful Gardens. As a busy mother and business owner, she didn’t have time to care for her vegetable garden using traditional techniques. Over several years, she developed a gardening strategy that reduced the time spent weeding, watering and tilling by at least 60 percent.

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Below you will find how you can use the Lasagna Gardening Strategy in your own backyard.

What is lasagna gardening and how does it work

Lasagna gardening is a type of gardening that involves layering different materials on top of one another to create a nutrient-rich environment for plants. The most common materials used in lasagna gardening are newspapers, cardboard, and compost. To create a lasagna garden, the first step is to lay down a layer of newspapers or cardboard. This will help to smother weeds and prevent them from growing. 

Next, add a layer of compost. This will provide essential nutrients for plants. Finally, add a layer of topsoil. This will help to hold moisture and encourage plant growth. lasagna gardening is an easy and effective way to create a healthy environment for plants. 

It is also a great way to recycle materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

Benefits of using this method for your garden

There are many benefits of lasagna gardening, but the main one is that it requires much less work than the traditional way of creating new beds. Here are all of the wonderful advantages…

  • Less manual labor
  • Fewer weeds
  • Better water retention
  • Improves poor quality soil
  • Requires less fertilizer or expensive soil amendments
  • Creates loose, fluffy, fertile soil where plants will thrive
  • Gives you a place to put your yard waste if you don’t have a compost bin
  • Inexpensive, since you get the materials for free

If you’re looking for a more natural way to Garden, you might want to try using the permaculture method. Permaculture is an approach to gardening that mimics the patterns and relationships found in nature. It involves using natural processes to create a sustainable, self-sufficient system. 

For example, rather than tilling the soil and planting rows of crops, permaculture gardeners focus on creating diverse habitat that attract beneficial insects and other wildlife. This approach can save you time and effort in the long run while also providing a habitat for wildlife. 

If you’re interested in trying permaculture gardening, we have many resources available on our Permaculture Page to help you get started.

How to create a lasagna garden bed

Map out your new garden area, then lay black and white newspaper or cardboard over existing vegetation, including weeds and grass in the area. Wet these materials thoroughly with a hose. This will smother the plants already there and keep new weeds from coming up.

Gather the materials you will need for your lasagna garden. You’ll need lots of “brown” materials, such as peat moss, straw, wood chips, dry leaves, shredded office paper, sawdust or newspaper. These ingredients are dry and decompose quickly. They’re usually bulky, ensuring light, oxygen-rich soil. 

You’ll also need “green” materials. If you’ve composted before, you know that green materials are nitrogen-rich matter that is dense and moist. Green materials include compost, manure, untreated grass clippings, animal bedding, yard waste, vegetarian kitchen waste, coffee grounds, seaweed and blood meal. 

Start layering – 5 inch layers of brown materials with 3 inch layers of green material. Top the garden off with 5 inches of garden soil. 

Although you can build a lasagna garden anytime of the year, fall is the best time. Materials, such as dried leaves, are plentiful during the fall and by starting the garden in fall, you allow time for the soil amendments to break down and blend together.

In the spring, you are ready to plant.  There is no need to till a lasagna garden because its layers guarantee a soft, pliable growing medium. Simply plan your seeds, water and you’re ready to go.

Once seedlings emerge, spread a 6 inch layer of weed-free straw over the garden surface. The straw breaks down over time, adding even more organic matter to your soil. In the meantime, the straw conserves water and keeps weed growth down.

Every fall, add a few more layers to your lasagna garden for soil that becomes richer as the years go by.

Not only does this method reduce the amount of work required to prepare a garden bed, but it also helps to improve drainage and prevent compaction. In addition, lasagna gardening is ideal for gardeners who want to avoid using chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. 

By layering organic matter, lasagna gardens provide plants with all the nutrients they need to thrive. As a result, lasagna gardening is an easy and effective way to create a healthy garden bed.

Recipes for different types of compost to use in your garden

Most gardeners know that compost is essential for healthy plants. Not only does it provide nutrients and improve drainage, but it also helps to regulate moisture levels and suppress weed growth. However, not all compost is created equal. 

The type of compost you use can have a big impact on the health of your plants. For example, manure-based compost is rich in nitrogen and other essential nutrients, making it ideal for vegetable gardens. 

On the other hand, wood-based compost is more carbon-rich, making it better suited for flower beds. Knowing which type of compost to use can make a big difference in the health of your plants.

Tips for maintaining your lasagna garden throughout the year

Lasagna gardening is a tried and true method of effortless gardening that results in rich, fine tilth come spring. By layering decomposing leaves, straw, composted manure, and shredded newspaper in late fall, you give nature a leg up on preparing your garden for planting come spring. In the meantime, the worms and other microorganisms do all the work of breaking down these materials into rich humus.

In early spring, simply plant your seeds or seedlings into the lasagna garden as you would any other garden. By summer’s end, you will have bountiful harvests of fresh veggies with very little weeding or other upkeep required. Best of all, your lasagna garden will be low-maintenance for years to come with just an annual refresh of fresh organic matter in late fall. So break out your forks and get layering!

Although lasagna gardening can work on a large, traditional garden, most lasagna gardeners make raised beds with paths running between them. Raised beds can be as simple as raised mounds of soil, or a permanent as frames made with wood, rock or cinder block. To make paths, simply lay cardboard where you want the paths, wet it well and mulch with wood chips or gravel.


How soon Can You Plant in a Lasagna Garden?

You can plant in your lasagna garden as soon as you build it, or you can wait until spring. In order to plant it right away, your top layer should be 4-6 inches of compost.

How Many Layers Should I Put in my Lasagna Garden?

At minimum, you should alternate four layers of browns and greens (2 each) on top of the cardboard in your lasagna garden. In the end, it should be at least 6 inches deep in order to smother the weeds.

But the more layers you add, the better. Some gardeners build them up to be 1-2′ deep. It may look silly to you, but don’t worry. Everything will settle and shrink down once it starts decomposing.

Lasagna gardening and wood water conservation strategies go hand in hand. If you use overhead sprinklers, some of the water will run off the straw mulch. Lay soaker hoses under the straw mulch instead. The water goes directly to plants’ roots and the straw mulch prevents evaporation.

Lasagna gardening is a great way to get all the benefits of gardening without having to put in as much work. This method is also great for people who may not have a lot of space for gardening or those who do not have very good soil conditions. 

If you are interested in starting a lasagna garden, there are a few things you need to know. First, you will need to create your bed by layering different types of compost material. Once you have your bed created, you can then plant your seeds or starts and water them regularly. Finally, be sure to add new layers of compost every year and remove any dead plants so that your garden stays healthy and productive!

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