Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lasagna Gardening... sort of

I meant to post again earlier this week, but I have been super sick, and am just now feeling better (translates- I was able to eat something other than soup) so I thought I'd post something I had been working on earlier this week. 

    I'm sure that many of you are familiar with the method of gardening known as lasagna gardening. The premise is that instead of digging (tilling) the soil every year and disturbing the soil, you amend it organically. The way that this is done is by layering (which is where it gets the name lasagna gardening- it looks like layers of lasagna) greens and browns.

      Most people start with either layers of newspaper (several - at least three though five is recommended) or cardboard overlaid to form a weed barrier. Then layer greens and browns. Greens encompass stuff you would put in a compost pile such as vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, garden waste, grass clippings etc. Browns encompass such things as shredded leaves, peat, shredded paper, cardboard etc.  Usually the brown layers are twice as thick as the green, and many people top it off with some manure. Then you can either put enough top layer of compost deep enough to plant immediately or (like us) you can start it in the fall and let it break down over winter.

     Well, since we didn't have enough of everything we sort of did a lasagna gardenish (can that be a word?) deal. The section that had the most weeds last year is where I put the cardboard (the back under the steps). I put a lot of shredded newspaper in the front and a little on the side (it doesn't really get many weeds). We did put a bunch of leaves and quite a bit of green under them. I have also been slowly but surely putting my kitchen waste on top of that. We will put compost with manure on closer to Spring. We are not sure how our little "experiment" will work. We know the weeds will show up (since we didn't put thick layers of newspaper and/or cardboard everywhere) but are hoping our soil is more nutrient rich.

     We did this awhile back, and it has broken down some- it was much higher. We keep adding kitchen scraps on top. It doesn't really look pretty, but I know that later when we add the manure compost it will look nicer. We're hoping that the leaves break down enough, but figure if not we'll just add more top layer to plant in. It shouldn't be a problem for the most part either- at least according to other articles and blog posts I have read.
Do any of you have an experience using this method? Suggestions (other than we need more cardboard next year and top layer compost/manure)?