Lasagna Gardening Step by Step


Everybody loves Italian. What’s better on a cold winter’s night than a large casserole filled with bubbling lasagna?

There goes the diet

Well, if you can whip up lasagna, you can also make a delicious layered delicacy for your home grown vegetables. It may take a bit more elbow grease for your garden lasagna, but it’s still easy, fun and your vegetables will repay you like this.

The rewards of a fall garden

Here’s your Lasagna Gardening Step by Step Photo Guide

But first, a bit of an explanation. For those of us who don’t have perfect soil (and who does?), the easiest way to garden is above ground. That’s what Lasagna Gardening is all about. It’s above ground gardening, it’s organic, fairly simple and requires no digging, tilling or power tools. And creative types are never allowed around power tools.

Plus Lasagna Gardening saves you time, energy and money.

Here’s your handy, dandy Lasagna Gardening Recipe
(based on a 12 inch tall bed) 

Existing Topsoil
Wet Newspaper (20 sheets overlapping)
1.5 inches of Turkey Compost
3 inches of Barnyard Litter
1.5 inches of Shredded Newspaper
Cottonseed Meal
3 inches Hardwood Mulch
3 inches Soil
No cooking required – now it’s ready to plant!

Let’s get started making the recipe.

Yesterday I explained how to make raised beds for your garden. Let’s look at my empty raised bed again.

I placed my beds directly on grass and weeds

Just like coating a casserole dish before you start building your lasagna, you have to do something to prevent the grass from growing into your vegetable bed. The point is to grow vegetables, not something else to mow.

Kinda hate to cover up the great Bandera County Courier

Start with newspaper when building your Lasagna Garden. Make sure to you have 20 sheets thick  and place them overlapping. (Don’t get obsessive about this. Check how thick your folded newspaper is and eyeball it from there on.) Remove all the slick colored inserts as they don’t break down as quickly and earthworms don’t like them.

Next wet the newspapers to the soaking point. You can also immerse the newspapers in water and then lay them on the ground but this makes the newspapers a lot heavier and you a lot wetter. Not so bad if it’s a hot Texas summer day.

Compost and Manure are rich and great for your veggies

Add the Turkey Compost and then the Barnyard Litter. Turkey Compost is the only expensive thing in this recipe. If you are blessed with lots of manure, you could just use that. Make sure that it isn’t still hot as that will burn up all your little plant’s roots. Manure should probably sit around 6 months before you use it.

If you can’t get your hands on the Barnyard Litter because you’re a city dweller, you can buy bags of it from your local landscape supply company. If you can’t find any Turkey Compost, feel free to use a substitute like Chicken Manure.

I’d like to add a Lasagna Gardening Tip here. If you don’t have any strong males around to do heavy lifting (Turkey Compost bags are very heavy), then do what I do. I work out of the back of my car.

It’s easier to handle a 40 lb bag when it’s in a wheelbarrow

By the way, that’s my new Easy Pour Wheelbarrow and I just love it. Back to the subject at hand. The next step in Lasagna Gardening is adding Shredded Newspaper. If you don’t have any available, shredded paper will work just as well. Try your neighborhood bank. They shred everything. If not, you can use leaves, though that would require lots of raking.

Recycling at it’s best!

Once you have the paper down, wet it thoroughly. If it’s a windy day, have your hose in one hand and work in batches or you’ll have a neighborhood of shredded paper flying everywhere.

Next, add the Cottonseed Meal. It adds nitrogen to the soil and is available in large bags at the feed store. It doesn’t cost much, a little goes a long way and you can use it to fertilize your beds throughout the season.

Cottonseed Meal is a rusty color

Sprinkle it evenly (well, as best as possible) over the wet Shredded Newspaper.

Nitrogen develops healthy leaves

Next add the Hardwood Mulch. I bought some, but if you have a local Electric COOP, they normally have a tree trimming and wood shredding program and will deliver it to you for free. Here in the Texas Hill Country we have too many Cedar Trees and a problem with Oak Wilt so, in our area, it is advised to let fresh mulch sit at least 6 months (a year is better) before you use it in the garden. I was racing to beat the clock, so I bought some bags of Hardwood Mulch. They were very inexpensive.

I evened out the Shredded Mulch with the back of my rake

That way, it didn’t disturb the layers. Finally add the Soil Mix. I bought a truckload of lousy Hill Country dirt because it was cheap and I had 17 beds to fill.

Find cheap Top Soil as you’ve already added enough things to make this rich soil

Make sure when you’re done to water your bed thoroughly before planting

The nice thing about Lasagna Gardening is that you can plant immediately!

 A variety of Peppers newly planted

And that is how Lasagna Gardening works. Don’t forget to have your favorite tunes playing and the hummingbird feeders full to invite friends into your garden. And, I promise, C&W music will keep your plants dancing and growing!

There is a great book, “Lasagna Gardening” by Patricia Lanza available for sale on Amazon and many other sites.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply