Just when hobby gardeners thought they had grasped the basics of gardening, a new term appears. For example, the so-called lasagna bed, which is also known by its English name “Lasagna Gardening”. But not every new technique must automatically mean something complicated, and in the case of lasagna gardening, this is exactly what is true: it is a special way of creating a garden bed that takes even less time and effort than traditional digging. Perfect for beginners and gardeners with a lack of time. Let us introduce you to garden lasagna once.
Table of Contents
What is Lasagna Gardening?
Have you ever heard of permaculture ? Well, garden lasagna is a method from this very type of gardening. The difference with the classic bed care is that the soil is not dug up as usual to incorporate the new nutrients, for which it is best to use compost. But in this case, you are not using the already mature compost from your compost pile. You are preparing a new compost pile, so to speak, directly on the bed, which will then gradually release its nutrients into the soil until the next season.
Proper layering for the lasagna bed.
Of course, for this purpose, do not randomly throw food scraps and garden waste on the bed. The right system with the right materials is essential to stimulate composting . As with the classic compost pile, alternate between the so-called brown and green layers. The former is rich in carbon, while the green is nitrogenous. The collaboration of these two substances also accelerates the rotting of the material.
How to create the lasagna bed correctly
So you need brown and green layers. But which organic waste belongs to which layer? Here are a few examples:
- Crushed eggshells
- Vegetable and vegetable trimmings (cut vegetable plants).
- Coffee grounds
- Herbs, especially wild herbs (nettles, for example, are a great addition)
- Lawn clippings
- Tea leaves
- wood chips and other small chopped wood like twigs and branches
- pure cardboard (without colors, prints or stickers)
- corn stalks
- dry pine needles
- sphagnum moss
- shredded newspaper
When can you start a lasagna bed?
Autumn is the best time, as it is easier to obtain the organic materials – nature provides plenty of them now, with the leaves falling off, for example. You also still regularly mow the lawn and can use the clippings. Furthermore, you get twigs from the autumnal cuts and many vegetable plants from the summer are now wilting and need to be disposed of.
The garden lasagne created step by step
If you do not yet have a bed available and have yet to create one, then prepare the selected area by first mowing it and smoothing out any uneven areas. Water the soil there. Then you can begin to create a lasagna bed.
- Plants, such as weeds or vegetable plant remains, which remained in the soil, it is necessary to prevent new growth. For this purpose, lay out a so-called insulating layer, which prevents sunlight from reaching the soil and causing the growth of unwanted plants. Use thin cardboard or damp newspaper that is neither printed nor has other parts such as tape or clamps (or remove them beforehand). Now leave this cardboard like this for about a week. If you were to start layering immediately, you would disturb the oxygen supply, which in turn would cause rot.
- Now you can apply the layers for the lasagna bed. Start with a brown layer and then spread green material on top of it. It is important to know that the brown layer should always be twice as thick as the green.
- Continue in this way, alternating, until you reach the desired bed height. Keep in mind that the material will collapse over time, making the lasagna bed even lower than when you layered it.
Tip: If you want to start planting in the lasagna garden right afterwards (in spring), the lasagna bed needs a final layer of normal garden soil. This should be about 15 to 20 cm thick. If you create the garden bed in the fall, this is unnecessary, as the compost should have turned to soil by the new season.
- The last step in sheet mulching is a layer of mulch, whether you leave the garden bed still untouched, or already planted. This has the purpose of preventing weeds and also keeping the layers moist. For this final mulch layer, you can use leaves (chopped small), grass clippings, bark mulch or straw.
Advantages and disadvantages of Lasagna Gardening.
- Less manual labor
- Less weeds
- Better water retention
- Improves poor soil quality
- Requires less fertilizer
- Creates loose, fertile soil
- Ideal for disposing of garden waste (if you don’t have room for a compost pile or bin)
- Inexpensive because you get the materials for free
- Materials are free, but some are difficult to obtain, as layers require plenty of them.
- Kitchen scraps can attract unwanted creatures such as mice (so it is important to cover such with a thick brown layer).
- If you don’t cover the bed with compost or mulch, it will be anything but pretty to look at.
- The materials must be kept moist at all times or they will not decompose. so regular watering is important and perhaps too time consuming for some.
- The green materials in the lasagna bed can attract destructive insects like slugs and snails, and the layers give them plenty of places to hide.