Thursday, February 25, 2010

The great lasagna garden experiement of 2010

This is the beginning of my lasagna bed. I wrote a little about this last fall, but in case you missed my earlier blog let me give you a reminder.

Lasagna gardening was introduced to me be a former neighbor, dear friend and excellent gardener. She thought I would enjoy lasagna gardening.

Lasagna gardening is kind of like sheet composting, where you lay organics out, layer by layer and let mother nature do the work of breaking them down. You use compostable material you find around your home and neighborhood such as grass clippings, fruit, veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds, leaves, straw, compost, wood ashes. You can also use local compostables such as manure, hay, straw, sawdust, seaweed/kelp. The author of the book Lasagna Gardening also relys on peat moss between each layer of compostable material.

I found this form of gardening fascinating for several reasons. You don't have to pull up any sod, as you lay newspaper or cardboard over and smother the grass and weeds. You can rebuild soil that seems unable to grow a good garden. You use your own resources instead of buying new or throwing away organic material. Supposedly, you don't need to do much weeding, you don't have to till the ground each year and you don't have to water as much.

Sounds almost too good to be true doesn't it? After many years of pondering this type of gardening, I'm going to do my first lasagna experiment this spring. Last year, I experimented with water and sweet potatoes. This year it is lasagna gardening.

The site I chose is going to be a great test. There is perhaps 1 inch of top soil here, below the little layer of top soil is a lovely bed of rocks. Of course, I wouldn't normally choose this soil for a rich garden but if lasagna gardening will work here it will work any where. On the good side of this site, it is close to water, I can easily see it and enjoy my gardening process from my office window and maybe most importantly it has the most sunlight in the summer.
As you can see in the above picture I have been assembling organics since last fall, borrowing grass clipping and leaves from my neighbor. My friend Tina grabbed a bale of straw from a Autumn display. As of today my lasagna bed is about 4 inches full of compost, straw, grass clippings, and one layer of peat moss I had left over in my garden shed. I need to build this bed up to about 18-24 inches- I have a long way to go.....
I'll keep you posted of this experiment as I play through the process. If you are interested the book I'm working out of, it is called Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza. Hope you join me in playing in the dirt this year.
Happy composting,

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