Lasagna Gardening

No, it’s not a kind of pasta. It’s a way to create an awesome fertile garden with little more than basic yard waste.

Even Oprah, apparently, knows about it.

Check out the link, and think about it–the basic idea is that instead of buying tons of heavy expensive dirt and then amending it with heavy expensive compost and fertilizer, you just build your own dirt and fertilizer–layering card board or newspaper on top of the grass you want to smother (so it too becomes compost/fertilizer), and then on top of that layers of chopped leaves, peat, compost, manure, grass clippings, and so forth, until you put a nice layer of wood chip mulch on top. Let it “cook” for a while (doing this in fall and then coming back to plant the next spring works really well), and you have this awesome soil that’s full of awesome nutrients…that’s essentially what we did with our yard, though we didn’t really have as many layers as we should have, and we needed topsoil to finish it all off.

An alternate plan, if you don’t generate enough yard waste–get one of those half-whiskey-barrels from your local Homeowner Hell or nursery, and try the same thing there–make your layers, maybe get some real soil (preferably containing earthworms, they hurry this process along!) to add in there, and let it overwinter. Then you’ve got this awesome container garden set for planting next spring.

Okay, I know this idea is of limited help right now, since it’s spring already, but you can always get started with your half-barrel, and then spend the spring and summer dumping leaves and grass clippings into it layer by layer…or heck, get some dirt and plant in it this year, but then pile the new stuff onto it over the summer.

If you love your garden, never again take a bag of “yard waste” to the curb! Use it on your own garden! (Or give it to me! :-))


Posted on May 14, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wow what great tips. I am all for having better soil for our garden.

  2. I did the same thing this winter – just turned an unused bed into a makeshift compost bin/lasanga garden (though it wasn’t that organized). My husband didn’t understand this spring and cleared it all out, but I pointed out everything at the bottom had decomposed nicely!

  3. Robbie–sooo, yours was more like…casserole gardening?

    (I like that! Casserole gardening! Toss a bunch of stuff in and stir it around, then sprinkle autumn leaves on top in place of the melted mozzarella, and let it bake over the winter…)

    Doing a whole big garden like this is tough, though, in terms of getting enough organic material–although to be honest, I’m now looking at it and thinking, okay, if all my plants take hold, and the neighbors’ trees drop leaves on it, and all the plants I put in drop leaves on it, and everything at the end of winter decomposes down real good, in a few years when the perennials fill in we may NOT have to do the giant sweep of 3 yards of leaves and 4 carloads of free horsepoo from the local stable every autumn to help it sustain itself. (Maybe just our own leaves, and one carload of horsepoo?)

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