Posts Tagged ‘mulch’

Mini Lasagna Gardening


Posted by Mikie Baker  |  No Comments »

I had a blissful weekend in the garden playing in the dirt. Actually I worked my tail off, but it’s my favorite thing to do other than men. Did I just say that?

Fall/winter gardening is so easy compared to spring/summer gardening. Little or no bugs, lovely warm winter days and the anticipation of spring in the air. Because I am on a limited budget (as is most everyone else in this country), I use what I have. I never have understood how someone could spend $400 on fancy dirt to plant vegetables. From the way I see it that makes you pay about $20 per pound for potatoes.

When you’re dealing with raised beds like I am in the rock-infested Hill Country, somehow the dirt just disappears from one planting season to the next. The perfect time to add to your beds and increase their fertility is in the off months while there’s not much else to tend to. Remember, it’s all about the dirt when growing vegetables and (sigh) a gardener’s work is never done.

So when it came to start working the beds, I went back to my lasagna gardening roots and did a mini version to freshen up the beds. I tackled 4 of my 17 beds and about did myself in. From now on, I’m doing two at a time.

Here’s what a worn out bed that needs some help looks like.

 This was the pepper bed

Notice how the dirt is no longer all the way up the sides. Time to fill it up again. What you need are the following things: shredded newspaper, Cottonseed Meal, manure or compost, shredded mulch, lousy dirt and a bunch of elbow grease. I’ll break this down into steps for you.

Start with shredded paper. I got mine from the school who sheds a whole bunch of documents every August. Now I know that maybe your “permanent record” isn’t so permanent after all.

Put down a layer of shredded paper

Try to avoid a windy day to do this, but whatever day you do it, immediately wet down the newspaper. Wet it well. The next step is Cottonseed Meal.

Cottonseed Meal

Gardening tip: Go to WalMart and get some little plastic cups. I think they sell 10 for 2 bucks or something. These were Easter ones. They have Valentines, Halloween and Christmas, too. They’re perfect for a little shot of milk or as a gardening tool. Keep some in the house and some in the garage.

Okay, so why Cottonseed Meal? It’s loaded with nitrogen. I sprinkle about 2 of these small cups into each 4 X 8 foot bed. Then water it into the newspaper. You can find it at a feed store or good nursery.

Next, add your compost or manure. I prefer turkey manure, but it’s hard to find so this time I used chicken manure. You can use your own compost or that fancy dirt. Chicken manure is only $5 a bag and I used 2 bags per bed.

Cluck, cluck

How do you work the manure into the bed without disturbing your shredded paper? Simple.

Use the back of a rake

Sort of smooth it over the wet newspaper and you’ll get this for a result.

Smooth is out as best you can and then water again

Tomorrow we’ll finish up these 4 beds and plant something which is the reward for a hardworking gardener. Luckily, when I garden, I have help.

The Siamese Terrorist likes to garden, too!

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

Mikie Baker