Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lasagna Gardening

I found this in our local paper and thought I'd share:

Lasagna Gardening is a method of layering organic matter, watering alternate layers, and planting immediately. The earthworms do all the work and transform the layers into a very healthy soil, where plants grow as if they were on hormones!

The secret is to alternate a layer of brown matter, like leaves, barn litter and earth, and a green layer using grass clippings, organic kitchen waste and green garden waste, watering these and sprinkling peat moss in between the layers.

You can create a new flower or vegetable garden right over grass or weeds by simply spreading a minimum of 6 layers of newspaper (no glossy pages) on top of the grass or weeds. Water the newspaper so it doesn't fly away, then start layering. Do not water the peat moss layer because it is powdery and will fly away as you spray. Here is an example of the recipe:

1. Newspaper on top of the grass. If you have extreme weeds you can use cardboard. Water.
2. Sprinkle peat moss, just enough to cover.
3. Shredded cedar mulch, again just enough to cover. Water.
4. Peat moss.
5. Kitchen waste: fruit & vegetable scraps, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grinds. No bones, fish, meat scraps or fats! Water.
6. Peat moss.
7. Chopped leaves (do this on your driveway and not on the grass if you want a nice lawn). Use whole leaves if you are too busy - it will still work. Water.
8. Peat moss.
9. Grass clippings (about 1 inch). Water.
10. Peat moss.
11. Compost layer (about 2 inches). Water.
12. Four (4) inches of earth. I (the author of this article) use 3 in 1 mix soil (sorry, I'm not sure what she means by this).
13. Make a hole for each flower and sprinkle Myke (mycorrhizae) a bacteria that gives tiny extra roots that are able to give more water and mineral nutrients to the plants.
14. Plant!

Other ingredients that can be added: rock dust, ashes, hay, mushroom manure, sawdust,animal manure,seaweed, straw.

Well, there you have it. I (me, Wendy) haven't tried it yet. Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure once you get going it will be fun. I live in horse country, so barn litter will be easy to get (unless the horse farmers use it all). On second thought, it may smell bad. Forget it!
I have no idea what the Myke - bacteria to produce extra roots is, or if you can buy it at a nursery. Will have to do some research.

Would like to know if anybody's heard of this. I know it works for the author, because I've seen her garden and it's luscious!
Happy Gardening all.


30 years from Darling said...

My sister in law does this. She loves it!

I love the food from it!

beckie said...

Wendy, this sounds like it would work. Almost like making compost, and we know how plants love that. I haven't heard of the bacteria additive, but will also look it up. As for extra work, well maybe initially getting everything together. But not having to spade up a new area I think would be far less work. Thanks for the new idea.

annette said...

This sounds like a great idea if you live in an area with rocky or poor soil.

The bacteria may be an alternative to other root stimulators available at nuseries.

Sounds like this method may work well in drought conditions, too.


Cheryl said...

Hi Wendy....I havn't heard of this method but it is more or less what I do in the compost bins. My plants absolutely thrive on that, so this method would work very well I would think.
It sounds a perfect way to start a bed without having to take the grass up.
Tks for making us aware.

Wendy said...

Hi 30-years-from-darling,
I'm glad somebody has tried this. Thanks for your input.

Hey Beckie, You are right, I think the title of this newspaper article was something about saving your back from digging. It does sound intriguing, doesn't it?

Annette - you hit the head on the nail. We have very poor, sandy soil, so I am dying to try it. Thanks for the tip on the bacteria too. Will check it out.

Wendy said...

Hi Cheryl,
Yup, it does sound like good composting. I think it's supposed to save you from hard digging too.
Happy gardening - hope you are having a lovely, warm, sunny weekend.

Amy said...

I've got a friend on a 150+ acre organic farm who swears by this method. I've never tried it myself, but she grows amazing fruits and veggies.

Wendy said...

Thanks Amy - sounds like she knows what she's doing. Hope she shares her produce with you!