Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna Gardening is a process of layering organic materials that will decompose and create the most wonderful soil you have ever seen. It’s also referred to as sheet composting, and no-till gardening

If you are building new garden beds over grass or have soil that just isn’t healthy, the Lasagna Gardening method of building soil may be the answer for you and you don’t even have to get out the tiller.

Start by laying cardboard, butcher paper, or 10 sheet thick newspaper pads over the plot for your garden bed, overlapping them so all grass or dirt is covered. Keep your beds no more than 3-4 ft. wide because you will not want to walk on the growing areas.

You need to be able to reach into the center from both sides. If you are building your beds against a structure or fence, use 2-3 ft. wide beds to access from one side.

Your beds can have structured sides or slanted soil sides. The layers will provide a raised bed with or without formal sides. You want to layer with a mixture of brown and green material.

Brown material would be leaves, straw, peat moss, sawdust, shredded office paper, spoiled hay, and twigs. Small pieces are key.

Green material would be grass clippings, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, and well-aged animal manure. Never use meat or any type of grease which can attract unwelcome animals.

After laying the paper or cardboard, water it well. Next lay in about 4 inches of brown material, then lay in about 2 inches of green material (a ratio of 2:1) and continue layering until the bed is the desired height. You can use different material for each layer, then water well.

You can plant in this bed right away. Mulch with straw, fine wood chips, or chopped leaves to protect against weeds. If building in the fall, your beds will have all winter to “cook” and be ready for planting in the spring.

After the growing season, remove dead plants and add more layers to bring the level back up to the top of your beds. Cover with straw or mulch to keep weeds from taking hold in the spring.