Monday, June 9, 2008

Growing ...Lasagana?

Two years we began a new (to us) method of gardening called lasagna beds.I had read a few books on the subject and was excitedly telling a friend of mine about the our new garden when she looked at me with the strangest look on her face and said, "you grow lasagna?"

In case you are not familiar with this method the name comes from the layering method used in making your beds and has nothing to do with what you grow in them.

Here's how it works in a very simplified form-

  • think build up instead of dig down; begin with a thick base of wet newspaper laid directly on the soil, grass, whatever and build up from there.
  • plan to haul instead of dig, hoe and till
  • build your beds by alternating layers between- dirt, compost, mulched leaves, manure, etc. on top of your newspaper. Each layer can be 4-6 inches in depth. Your finished bed will be 12-16 inches tall.
  • plan the size of your beds so you won't have to walk on them; don't make them any larger than you can reach from the outside. 4 feet by 4 feet is a good size. One year I tried to fudge and make mine larger and was soon miserable from stretching to reach the center.
  • throughout the year and especially during off season continually add nutrients to the soil in the form of manure, compost, mulched leaves. Soon after our plants are established we side dress with rabbit manure and mulch. As the summer wears on we continually replace the mulch and fertilize every month or so. In the winter you can pile your leaves directly on your beds and then turn them over with a hoe in the spring.
  • when your bed is completely built (your last layer should be dirt) you are ready to plant on top.
Here's a view from the side where you can see some of the layers

And here is a bed we created in the front of our house. We cut the grass to the ground with a weed eater, then laid wet newspaper on top of the ground, and lastly built layers of compost, dirt, mulched leaves and rabbit manure.

Some advantages are:
  • no need for heavy tillers- (but a good wheelbarrow and shovel is a must:))
  • you can put a bed where ever you like. In one book I read the author tells of building a bed on a former dirt parking pad :0.
  • you improve the quality of your soil.
  • the layers attract earthworms and other beneficial creatures
For more information you may want to check out these:

Lasagna gardening : a new system for great gardens : no digging, no tilling, no weeding, no kidding! / Patricia Lanza.

Lasagna gardening for small spaces : a layering system for big results in small gardens and containers. / Patricia Lanza.

By the way we still plant our corn, beans, watermelons, and strawberries in rows. That just works better for us.

How about you? What are you growing?

1 comment:

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

I have never tried the lasagne method, but we do raised beds as well as raised rows in the garden.