Friday, November 26, 2010

Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening is the process of using layers of old newspaper, corrugated cardboard, leaves and mulch to create a garden bed. Lasagna gardening allows you to create a garden right on top of existing sod, thereby reducing the size of your lawn.

Reducing the size of a lawn saves water, reduces the need for harmful chemicals and reduces the amount of time spent mowing, which cuts down on air pollution. But a lasagna garden has its own benefits: it wards off pests and weeds without chemicals and helps conserve every drop of moisture.

Building a Lasagna Garden:

Lasagna gardening is a technique developed by Patricia Lanza. Here are the steps, taken from her book Lasagna Gardening which was published in 1998:

First, mark the outline of the garden on the ground, with either stakes and string or a sprinkling of flour. The actual size and shape of the garden are up to you.

For the first layer, you need something heavy to smother the existing grass and weeds. Most of the time, I use think pads of wet newspaper. Lay them close together, so the edges overlap slightly to keep the weeds from sneaking through. Another good option is flattened, overlapping cardboard boxes.

Next, add a 2 to 3 inch layer of peat moss to cover the paper or cardboard. Now, spread a 4 to 8 inch layer of organic mulch material over the peat moss. Add another layer of peat moss, and another layer of mulch and so on, until the beds are the desired depth.

You can plant fall-built lasagna gardens right away, let them "cook" first, or just leave them to break down naturally over winter for spring planting.

"Cooking" your lasagna garden is the process of covering the pile with black plastic and weighing it down with bricks or stones. The plastic traps the suns warmth and helps break down the "lasagna" quicker.

**Note: Just in case you are thinking of waiting until after Christmas and using your Christmas wrapping paper for the layers of your lasagna garden instead of newspaper, I checked several sources online and they all said that you shouldn't compost wrapping paper because of the unknown paper content and possibility of harmful dyes.

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