Lasagna gardening is a simple method that turns kitchen scraps, yard waste, and newspapers into layers of rich and nutritious soil. Lasagna gardening builds soil from the ground up, which means no digging or tilling is required, and no weeding later.
All you need is a sunny plot of unused land to make a lasagna garden planting bed. By following these simple steps, you will have a healthy planning bed in no time.
Raised beds may be constructed of a vast array of materials, limited only by the gardener’s creativity, aesthetics, and budget. Due to safety concerns using treated lumber, landscape timbers, and recycled plastic composite lumber are not recommended for raised beds. Creosote soaked railroad ties and rubber tires should never be used. The safest choice is to use untreated cedar which typically lasts between 5 to 7 years.
Raised beds should be no more than 2 to 4 feet wide so you can reach into the center of the beds without stepping into them. Mulch around the walkways to minimize the need for mowing and trimming weeds around the raised beds Begin with a layer of cardboard directly on the ground under the raised beds to smother weeds and encourage microbial soil activity.
The first layer in your lasagna bed should be a loose layer of twigs, small branches, and other small woody materials that will not compress as more materials are added to the plot. This base allows air to circulate through the lasagna layers and aids in decomposition of organic materials.
The next layer, the “brown layer,” should be 2 to 6 inches of dry leaves, alfalfa hay, wood chips, saw dust, shredded newspaper, or cardboard. These materials are very important because they act as the first layer of earthworm food.
Earthworms are essential to the decomposition process.
The third layer, the “green layer,” is composed of 1 to 2 inches of food scraps, grass clippings, egg shells, coffee grounds or plant cuttings. Fruit and vegetable scraps are acceptable food scraps.
Avoid using meat and dairy products, fats, or bones because these will attract unwanted nuisance critters to your garden.
Continue to layer the brown and green layers on top of each other. It is best to end with a brown layer to deter pests and scavengers.
Moisten each layer well before proceeding to the next layer.
Over the next four to five months, your lasagna layers will slowly decompose into rich, healthy soil. While you can start your lasagna garden any time of year, it is recommended building up your layers in the fall so you will have fresh compost for planting when the spring growing season begins.
You may also add bagged garden soil to the top of your lasagna garden if you need to plant your plants right away.
Lasagna gardening requires very little physical strain and is great for folks with limited mobility. Lasagna gardening is easy and fun for people of all ages to watch the natural decomposition procession of their food scraps being turned into plant food.
Clemson Extension will be having their annual fruit tree fundraiser. If you are interested in an order form please call the Extension office at 843-774-8218 extension 0.
For more information on lasagna gardening, please visit the Home and Garden Information Center website at hgic.clemson.edu. Tune in on Tuesday nights to watch “Making it Grow” at 7 p.m. on SCETV or mig.org. Email Outen at [email protected]
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