When you want to create a new planting bed, lasagna gardening (also known as sheet composting) is an easy way to get started - no digging required. Like the beloved pasta dish, the trick involves adding layers in the right order. Start with newspaper or cardboard, then top with brown or green yard and garden waste, such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Over time, microbes will turn all of this into fertile soil. Your lasagna garden will be ready to plant about 6 to 12 months after the last layer is added. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

raised garden bed

How to Start a lasagna Garden

While making lasagna requires a lot of preparation and cleanup, lasagna gardening is the opposite. No preparation is required other than clearing the rocks and debris that will become the garden. You don't need to worry about tilling or turning the soil. (You're welcome to turn the soil with a spade, which can speed up the composting process for a few months, but it's not necessary.)

When choosing a location for your lasagna garden, take into account the amount of sunlight reaching the plot and what you want to grow in the bed. Vegetables and herbs grow best in 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Flowering plants also thrive in strong sunlight for at least six hours a day.

When do you make the lasagna garden

Autumn is the best time to start your lasagna garden, as you can take advantage of winter's freeze-thaw cycle to help break down the lasagna. In addition, rain and snow in the colder months help keep the layers moist, which encourages them to break down faster. However, you can start board composting any time you have the material in hand.

raised garden bed

Add layers of organic material

Lasagna gardens are layered on top of each other. Use newspaper or cardboard as a base to cover existing grass and keep out weeds (4 to 6 sheets of newspaper or a layer of cardboard). Newspaper or cardboard will prevent light from reaching the plants below, preventing their growth. Soak the paper layer thoroughly to speed up decomposition and help it stay in place.

Just as quality ingredients affect the final taste of your favorite dishes, the best composting materials will create the most nutritious garden soil. Line the bottom of the paper or cardboard with a 2-inch thick layer of carbon-rich "brown" material such as chopped leaves, straw, sawdust, wood ash, wood shavings, and pine needles. The smaller or finer the material, the faster it breaks down.

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Add a 2-inch layer of green on top of the brown. The composition of this layer may be grass clippings, kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps, rotting horse or cow droppings, coffee grounds, and garden trims. The color doesn't matter, what matters is that the material contains moisture and is not dry and brittle like brown materials.

Continue to overlay 2 inch green layers on top of 2 inch brown layers until your new bed is from 18 inches to 3 feet tall. As materials break down, they shrink a lot. To complete the edges, surround your lasagna garden with stones or bricks. If you want to create a raised bed in the space, add strong planks around your layers.

raised garden bed

How long does it take to grow lasagna?

Microbes and earthworms work in the lasagna layer, and it can take up to a year to turn organic debris into nutrient-rich soil. The exact timing depends on several factors, including the size of the compost pieces, temperature and humidity. But the good news is, all you have to do is sit back and wait.

When the compost material is unrecognizable, it's time to plant a lasagna garden. Leaves, grass clippings and other parts look like loose, black-brown soil, ready for a shovel.

April 05, 2023

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