What is a lasagna garden? Basically it is an easy, no-dig organic gardening method that results in rich, healthy soil with very little work. You don’t have to remove existing grass and weeds, because just like what happens naturally in a forest, you add layers of organic matter which will break down into rich humus.
Lasagna gardening is great for the environment, because you’re using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden.
The first layer of your lasagna garden consists of either brown corrugated cardboard or three or four layers of newspaper laid directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you’ve chosen for your garden. Wet this first layer down to keep everything in place and start the decomposition process. The grass or weeds will break down quickly because they will be smothered by the newspaper or cardboard, as well as by the next layers of materials. This first layer also provides a dark, moist area to attract earthworms, wonderful additions to your garden.
After your first layer is down, start adding the ingredients. It does not have to be exact, 2 inches of this and 4 inches of that. It is very forgiving. What you want at the end of your layering process is approximately a two-foot tall layered bed. Don’t worry, it will shrink down. You want to use what you have (saves money) and allows you to recycle and reuse. So, anything that would go into a compost pile can go into your lasagna garden:
- Grass Clippings (without herbicides)
- Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
- Coffee Grounds
- Tea leaves and tea bags
- Weeds (if they haven’t gone to seed)
- Manure (not pet manure)
- Shredded newspaper
- Pine needles
- Spent blooms
- Peat moss
You can make a lasagna garden at any time of year. Fall is a great time because of the amount of organic materials like fallen leaves and yard waste from cleaning up the yard and garden. The lasagna garden sit and break down all winter and by spring, it will be ready to plant.
When it’s time to plant, just dig down into the bed. If you used newspaper as your bottom layer, the shovel will most likely go right through, with beautiful loose soil underneath. If you used cardboard, since it decomposes slowly, you may have to cut a hole in it.
What you can expect from a lasagna garden is:
- Few weeds, thanks to the newspaper or cardboard suppressing them from below.
- Better water retention, due to the fact that compost (which is what you made by layering all of those materials) holds water better than regular garden soil.
- Less need for fertilizer, because you planted your garden in almost pure compost, which is very nutrient-rich.
- Soil that is easy to work: crumbly, loose, and full of nutrition.
- Time to relax and enjoy!