Lasagna Gardening

Feb. 17, 2011 No Comments Posted under: Projects

Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza

Lasagna gardening…layering…a new phenomena in gardening.  When our grandparents first begin gardening, they plowed the garden plot.  This land was prairie land and had wonderful nutrients available…along came overuse and now we gardeners must rebuild the depleted nutrient soil.   Little was understood about disturbing the microorganisms of the soil, or how the deep plowed furrows might wash the good soil away…or how the weed seeds lying dormant would suddenly find life and overcome the desired seedlings (or the backs of those weeding the garden). Smile.

Layering Newspaper

Come in,  Lasagna Gardening…a layering method of using available compost, leaves and grass clipping to strengthen the garden soil.  The goal is to develop a sweet smelling soil and an environmental friendly garden.  Our first lasagna garden was under a tall trunked Ash tree that just begged to have some flowers at its base.We outlined our desired shape with our garden hose. We kept adjusting and adjusting until the base corresponded with the tall can0py of the tree.

Layering Wet Newspaper

We placed a layer of wet newspapers on top of the sod…The newspapers act as a weedbarrier by blocking out sunlight.  As the sod decomposes under the papers, additional nutrients are then available…plus the earth worms like to mulch up the newspaper and this aerates the soil. The newspapers also add stability to the layers of material going on next.

A layer of straw that we kept from Halloween the year before was layered on next.  It was gray and no longer crisp so it shook out into thin pieces.  We spread it over the newspapers and added some leaves that were scaveragened from neighbors.  (They know if they have missed the last leaf pick up they can always bring them to us…we’ll gladly accept them).

Next, 12 yards of composted peat soil were rolled off into our driveway.  It was 25% pulorvised manure, 25% sand and 50 % loamy black earth.  It soon became a 1 lane wheel barrow runway for Tom and I to get the soil hauled to the back yard for this garden.  After water breaks and neighbor visits we continued our adventure of installing the lasagna garden.  Our arborist from S&S Tree Specialists advised us regarding the Ash tree roots and to be careful that we didn’t cover them too deeply.  As we scattered soil around the tree we took a 6 inch ruler and kept track of the depth of the soil.  Even though we knew the straw would settle and soon become less, we wanted to be overly cautious…the Ash tree is the foundation of the back yard.

At that point, we gently watered the soil down and at the break of dawn, the Lasagna Garden began calling our names…  Planting the Hosta, Joe Pye Weed, Pulmonaire, and White Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart, we were off to have a lush garden under the Ash Tree.  We went slowly through the year…adding field rocks from the Iowa farm, along with annuals like Dusty Miller , Marigolds, and Dianthus…what a  great season!

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011 at 5:11 pm and is filed under Projects. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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