Lasagna gardening is a nontraditional organic gardening method that was largely developed by gardener Patricia Lanza. Born out of the frustrations of a gardener who no longer had time to garden, lasagna gardening does not require the hours spent on digging, tilling, and weeding of a traditional garden. The term lasagna does not mean that you will be growing lasagna or even vegetables to go in a lasagna but instead refers to the use of layers that resemble the layers of a lasagna in this gardening method. Learning how to lasagna garden including the benefits and drawbacks is simple with these tips and instructions.
How to Make a Lasagna Garden
Lasagna gardens are easy to start and easy to maintain. After you have selected an area of your property for your garden, spread a layer of lime or cotton burr compost on the ground to neutralize acid if necessary. (Soil that may need neutralized include areas under or near acid plants such as pine trees and evergreen bushes.) Then spread a thick layer of heavy decomposable material such as newspaper or cardboard over the area. Place a two to three inch thick layer of moisture-retaining material such as peat moss or coir over the newspaper. Next spread a layer of compost over the water absorbent material. Finally, continuing layering the compost and peat moss on top of each other until the garden reaches six to eight inches in height. The top layer may then be covered with a light layer of organic mulch to help reduce the growth of weeds. You may also include other organic materials such as straw, leaves, and grass clippings in the layers.
After you have finished preparing your lasagna garden, you can either begin planting immediately or wait and allow the layers to decompose. When you are ready to plant, simply peel back layers of decomposing materials and drop seeds or seedlings in. Then allow the plants to grow unattended until the fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest. You can water your garden if there is not sufficient rainfall, but do not worry about pulling out weeds. If you have opted to plant in rows, you can lay down pieces of cardboard between the rows to walk on and to hamper weed growth. After the growing season is over, simply stomp down the old plants and add another layer of compost or mulch. The decomposing plant material help fertilize the garden for next year. Then, when spring comes again, simply plant your next batch of vegetables and fruits by peeling back the top layers of your lasagna garden.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Lasagna Gardening
The biggest appeal of lasagna gardening for many gardeners is the relative lack of maintenance required to maintain a healthy and productive garden. In fact, after the initial preparation, lasagna gardening basically requires only the planting and harvesting of plants. Unlike traditional gardening methods, lasagna gardens do not need to be dug, tilled, or weeded. Allowing old plants to decompose also adds beneficial nutrients to the soil that would normally require the addition of fertilizer in a traditional garden. Lasagna gardening works with nature instead of against it; instead of fighting an endless battle against weeds, you simply let them grown and then stomp them down into the soil next year. However, these same benefits are also drawbacks. For gardeners who like a neat and well-maintained garden, lasagna gardening may simply be to messy and unorganized.
Lasagna gardening is a nontraditional organic gardening method that does not require digging, tilling, or weeding. These simple tips and instructions will help you get started with your own lasagna garden.
An Introduction to Lasagna Gardening: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf582744.tip.html
Lasagna Gardening: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Gardening.aspx
Lasagna Gardening 101: http://ourgardengang.tripod.com/lasagna_gardening.htm
Lasagna Garden: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Allium-poly1.jpg