Layer garden by ‘lasagna’ method
by Mary Beth Bennett, WVU Extension Agent
Despite its name, a Lasagna garden is not made with pasta. It is a nontraditional, organic, layering method you can use to create better soil. The name comes from the layers you make to create beds. Based on readily available natural ingredients, lasagna gardening is an easy, time-saving way to install and maintain any kind of garden without removing the sod, digging, or tilling.
Close planting and generous mulching greatly lessen the time needed for watering and weeding and result in fewer garden pests. Using no power tools, heavy equipment, or expensive additives, one person can easily create and enjoy a productive garden.
The Lasagna Garden Method of Gardening
Once you decide where your new bed will be, the process is simple and requires surprisingly little work.1. Start with a layer of cardboard or black-and-white newspaper. Lay it directly on top of grass or weeds and thoroughly wet it. A thick layer (10 to 15 sheets of newspaper) will smother weeds and sod.
2. Add a layer a couple of inches deep of composted materials or moist garden soil to weigh down the paper layer and speed up the decomposition of the sod below.
3. Spread a layer of mulch, a layer of leaves, a layer of barn litter, a layer of compost, a layer of leaves, and a layer of grass clippings. Repeat the layers.
4. Add materials in layers until the beds are 18 to 24 inches high.
5. You can use the bed right away by planting into it, or you can let it sit and “cook.”
6. To plant into the bed, make a planting hole by pulling the layers apart with your hands. Set the plant in the hole, pull the materials back around the roots, and water thoroughly. If you want to plant seeds, spread fine compost or damp peat moss where the seeds are to go. Set the seeds on the surface and sift more fine material to cover them.
You can find more information on the Internet. (Just search under “Lasagna gardening.”)