Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna Gardening, how to create a garden bed in 45 minutes?

Well it’s always fun to learn yet another easy way to garden, and I’ve been this lasagna gardening book, and it talks about doing a garden in 45 minutes,  and I have Pat Lanza with me today.  And together we are going to turn this space into a garden,  with just a few simple materials,  as fast as we can. I’m ready to get going.- Me too.  – How do we start?  This is the way we start.  We’re just gonna cover up the ground,  with wet newspaper,  and cover that up very quickly with some of our organic materials. – All right.

So let’s start with our bucket, and open up the paper, and cover up the ground.  Don’t dig it,  don’t rototill it.  – Well, this just appeals to me already,  because of the idea of going straight over the weeds and the grasses.  – But this is an all-natural material.  

Well, and I like the way that it looks like so far you just can’t go wrong.  It looks like even the messiest of us can do this first part at least perfectly right.  – Absolutely, there are no mistakes.  You can’t make a mistake.  – So we’ve got the wet newspaper,  which helps to hold it down,  and I imagine gives this a nice basis for our worms to maybe come up and get a little moisture there? 

 Exactly, the earthworms absolutely love this.  They’re gonna come up underneath the ground,  cultivate as they’re going.  And then eat the newspaper.  Eventually, you will see them right on top of the ground,  ’cause they will have eaten through.  Now, this is our first layer.  Let’s cover the cardboard. Because this constitutes a path. You could use cardboard under your gardens,  but I like this way better. 

Lasagna Gardening

 Fantastic, well I’ve got some pine straw here. How about we go with it? (straw rustling)  So we just dump this on the path?  – Yup. Fantastic.  Plenty of neighbors that go ahead and rake this up in the fall. I’ll have to make sure to run down and grab it before the chipper service comes.  Nice free ingredient here if you’ve got pine trees.

And it’s actually pretty.  If you had bark chips that you might like to put on your path instead. But I’m a great believer in using what you have.All right next layer. Next layer, let’s cover the newspaper, and this case we’re going to use peat moss,  simply because we have it. You don’t have to use peat moss and could use any other organic material.  You could just use leaves or grass.  But let’s use a layer of peat moss. 

 All right, so if I had compost that I’ve been making  I could go ahead and use that? – Yup.- Fantastic, so if I was too lazy to run out to the store.  -That’s it. – Dig around the yard.  At this point, we just want to cover the paper. Now, what if I had really bad weeds?  Could I use cardboard first?  – You could. – All right.  – And wet it down really good.  Okay. We didn’t wet our cardboard down, although we’re going to.

But if you were using cardboard as the base of your garden,  it’s best to wet it down.  So once we have all those corners,  so that there’s no paper showing. – Ooh, what now? – So let’s add grass clippings.  – Oh, okay, so I’m beginning– – Green grass.  – To see the lasagna here.  – Yeah.  The lasagna layers.  – Which I think is a wonderful term for lasagna gardening.  Well, and it also reminds me very much of composting that you’re layering in the brown carbon and the green nitrogen. 

Exactly, now I normally would use one part of green grass clippings,  to four parts brown.  Leaves, chip leaves, or the peat moss constitutes a brown.  So this is like nitrogen to carbon.  – All right.  – So let’s give it enough to make it a whole layer. And cover up all our peat moss.  – And again, the idea is sort of like with making lasagna,  do you just want to cover up each layer?  – Exactly. – At a time and then you know you’ve done?  – And you could do it from a standing position.

I just throw it in there,  a lot of people that just can’t bend over.  Well, it’s okay, you can just throw these things down. I like it to look neat.  So let’s put on another layer.  – All right, should we use more compost? – We could use a bag of this wonderful compost.  – All right, let’s use some compost.  Well, this is great,  easy to do, and I’ve noticed that sometimes garden stores have bags of compost that have broken open that they sell cheaper. And you can get little savings that way too. – Well, I have been known to take my pickup to the garden store in the spring. 

Or late in the fall.  And they would actually almost pay me to take it away because they were cleaning up.  So those split bags are just fine. – Fantastic.- And I’ve paid as low as 50 cents a bag.  – Wow. – If the split wasn’t too big.  There’s nothing like having a roll of duct tape in your truck too.  That kind of tapes the bag up ’til you can get home. (Julie laughing)  And once we’ve put on that black layer,  let’s put on another brown layer.  – All right, so our lasagna’s building higher and higher and higher. – It is, we’re going to have several inches. 

We wanna have enough inches when we get done here to plant our plants,  and that’s why we call this a garden that can be done in 45 minutes.  Once you have your material together. – All right, so we have the ground with weeds. We weren’t scared of it.  We covered it with wet newspaper, and then on top of that,  – We used leaves. – We’ve got the leaves.  – Peat moss. – Peat moss. – Grass clippings, compost, more peat moss.  Now we’re gonna use more grass clippings.  – Fantastic. – ‘Cause this is what we have.  And that’s the secret.  Using what you have.  – Oh, well and you get out there and mow the lawn,  you’ve got grass clippings. – Yup.  – Got compost, got leaves.  And now on top, what is going to be our–  – The prima layer. 

We’ve been saving the best for last.  – Oh, these are beautiful.  This looks like some wonderful old leaves that have been all ground up and sitting around.  This is beautiful. – If you don’t have wood ashes,  and most people don’t have wood ashes today,  use some agricultural lime. And just sprinkle it on.  I remember, “Look  at that earthworm,  “and those leaves,  look at that.”  – We already got one in there, fantastic.  – But this will just take a little bit of the acid out of all these leaves. And the leaves are probably oak. And they’ve been chipped up fine,  but they’re still very acid.  – All right. – There’s the cheese, on our lasagna. 

You know it takes six months for lime to activate, so if you do this every six months by rote,  just like a farmer would,  you’ll have a more neutral soil base. Now we need some water.  Let’s get everything evenly moist.  – All right, so we get the paths nice and moist.  – Make sure it gets all the way down to the cardboard to hold that in place. – All right, that way especially when it’s nice and breezy in the spring it’s not gonna blow away. – Yep, and if you happen upon a treasure trove,  like some compost or chopped leaves,  put them all on your garden, so it’s not a done deal.  This is a work in progress. 

Now, what’s the best time of year to start a lasagna garden? – Today. (Julie laughing)  When you get the enthusiasm,  when you say, “I can do this.” You start it right then.  It doesn’t matter.  If it’s not actively snowing or sleeting, which is uncomfortable, then you need to go out and start your garden. You have all this stuff. Or you certainly have some of it.  – Well, let’s get plugging.  What would you like to start with today? – Let’s start with the tomatoes.  And put them in the back.  – Oh, and these are fantastic. These are those biodegradable pots too.  – Just look, we’re going right down through all those layers,  right down to the newspaper. Can you imagine a plant root trying to go into hard-packed soil? 

But in this,  this plant is gonna think it’s died and gone to heaven.  Because the roots can go right out into these layers,  and you push out all the air pockets.  Take off the lower leaves.  – Now, putting in these pots,  putting in these plants here that are already grown fantastic, it’s easy.  What if I wanted to start some things from seed on this bed? – Well here’s the deal,  you just take this and press it down to make it firm. Firm it up, that pushes out all the air. 

And gives you this little base to plant seeds.  Sprinkle your seeds right along the row here.  And then take some of your layers,  and sprinkle back on top. As these seeds come up,  just continue mulching around them. – And there you have it,  less than 45 minutes,  a beautiful garden. Lasagna layers, a little bit to drink here,  and we are done for the day. Thank you Pat Lanza for teaching us the secrets of natural gardening, lasagna gardening.  I call it just plain easy garden and tons of fun.

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