Lanark County Master Gardeners
No, I am not going to teach you how to grow lasagna. I am going to talk about a “no-dig” method to use to grow the vegetables you love and use to make lasagna. Lasagna gardening refers to the method of building the garden up by adding layers of organic material.
There is no need to remove existing sod and weeds. They are organic matter and contain a wealth of nutrients. You don’t have to double dig or work the soil at all. The first layer on top of the sod will be corrugated cardboard or 10+ sheets of newspaper laid directly on top of the sod or weeds in the area you have selected for your garden. Wet this layer down thoroughly to keep everything in place. The grass and weeds will quickly break down as they are smothered by the cardboard.
To make a lasagna for dinner, you carefully layer ingredients. Instead of three layers of noodles topped with three layers of sauce and cheese you alternate a layer of noodles with a layer of sauce or cheese. The same is true with a lasagna garden. It is ideal to alternate “brown layers” and “green layers”. The brown layers should be about twice as deep as the green layers but don’t get out the ruler, just layer them. The end result of the layering process is a 50-60 cm high layered bed. It will shrink down in a few weeks.
Green Ingredients - grass clippings, fruit or vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves and bags, weeds, well-rotted manure, compost, spent blooms, garden trimmings.
Brown Ingredients - leaves, shredded newspaper, peat moss.
Anything that goes into a compost pile, can go into a lasagna garden. These materials break down to provide nutrient rich crumbly soil.
Create the lasagna garden at any time of year. Fall is the optimum time as there is an abundance of organic material such as fallen leaves and general yard waste. The lasagna garden can sit and break down over the winter and will be ready to plant in the spring. Fall rain and winter snow keep the materials in your garden moist and speed breakdown. Starting in the spring or summer, requires more “soil-like” amendments, especially finished compost so you can plant right away. Layer as many greens and browns with layers of finished compost in between. Finish off the entire bed with 8-10 cm of finished compost and then plant.
Plant your Lasagna garden as you would any other. When you dig down, if you hit your cardboard, you may have to cut holes in it. To maintain the garden, add mulch to the top of the bed in the form of straw, grass clippings or chopped leaves. Once established, care for your garden the same way you would care for any other. If using a “Square Foot Garden” approach, you will need to top up your bed with extra compost.
Enjoy The Edible Garden Newsletter published monthly by Lanark County Master Gardeners and available on our website www.lanarkmg.blogspot.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @lanarkmg.