Monday, January 2, 2012

Last Season's Lasagna Garden

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Even though we have had the pleasure of a relatively mild winter thus far here in Colorado this year, the gardener inside of me has a wicked case of cabin fever!  My hands are positively aching to get busy in the dirt.  So I find myself wistfully dreaming the days away with visions of the lush green backyard vegetable oasis we will enjoy come summer.

Our garden last year was small; we had a new baby and I was in school, and afraid to bite off more than I could chew.  Thankfully, last year was also the year that I "discovered" the concept of Lasagna Gardening.  The whole garden was essentially and experiment/study in the Lasagna method.  No chemicals, no tilling, almost no weeding, no expensive organic treatments for the soil.  It couldn't have been less stressful, or more successful!! 

I checked out the book Lasagna Gardening, by Patricia Lanza, from the library (you can peruse the website yourself here), and I fully admit that I did not read it from cover to cover.  As I leafed through the pages and studied the helpful images what I took away from the book was this: Gardening isn't as intimidating as I had thought!  There isn't some  dusty old rulebook of ancient rigid gardening laws that must be followed (As my mother would have had me believe, only she knew the secrets- and she sure wasn't sharing!).  As it turns out, in a garden, as with everything else in life, be creative, make what you've got work for you... and thrive.

The loosely adapted version of the Lasagna Gardening method that I used went a little something like this:
  • We re-purposed concrete forms from a job my husband had worked on into raised bed garden boxes.
  • I placed the first layer of "lasagna"- newspaper.  This layer works as weed control.  I lined the bottom of the raised bed with the newspaper, about 2-3 pages thick.  Then I soaked the paper with the hose.  Hint: The newspaper can be placed anywhere.  You can put it on top of hard packed dirt, as we did, or even directly over the grass).  Using newspaper with only black and white ink keeps the garden organic.  
  • Next, I added a layer of green yard waste.  We had a pile near the compost of leaves and grass clippings.
  • The next layer was from our newly started, not completely broken down compost.  I just tossed the food scraps right on top of the green yard waste.
  • Then I topped the previous layer with a bag of organic garden soil.

Another important lesson that I learned from this book was that the carefully planned and plotted rows I had placed in past gardens may have contributed to the never-ending weeding that I suffered from.  This time I just plopped seedlings and seeds as randomly as I could.  This resulted in the plants growing in their own sort of layers- as they would in nature, I suppose.  It seemed that the plants almost acted as weed control for one another.  I think I only weeded twice all season!  :)

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to get started! Beautiful photos!