I Love Lasagna Gardening!!  Okay, now that I got that out there, let me explain to you how to do it.  I will first have to admit that I am somewhat of a lazy gardener, and also that I am extremely frugal and do not have much money or time to put into something that I greatly enjoy.  I was on a mission to find out how I could create wonderful garden beds for the least amount of money and time.  At a used book store, I came across the book, Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanzer.  I lapped up every word and began thinking about my own yard.  When we purchased the house, there had been a garden, but it had been covered with sod.  I was determined to reclaim the original garden spot and make it my own!

Original Yard

My first task was to collect large amounts of cardboard from the hospital that I work at.  After painstakingly removing all of the tape, I began laying the cardboard out on the grass, leaving no spaces for weeds to sneak up through.  I began this project in the fall to leave all winter for things to happen.  After laying out the cardboard, I began piling grass clippings and leaves on top of the cardboard.  I also purchased 10 bales of 3.8 cubic feet sphagnum peat moss because our soil has so much clay.  In addition, my husband and I hauled a truckload of composted manure from a coworkers horses and spread that out as well to add nutrients.  The finished product was pretty impressive.  I spent $90 on peat moss, and everything else was free.

Stage One Lasagna Gardening

In the Spring, we added straw to the walkways and defined each bed to be separated with rows.  I based my design on the wide row system explained in the Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond.  My rows were going to be wide so that I could maximize space and productivity.

Creating the walkways

In the Spring, when it was time for planting, I made sure to add a healthy dose of fish emulsion to each spot as I planted.  I did not add as much as the book recommended- she recommends at least 18″ of material for the raised bed lasagna gardening idea.  I had to work with the material that I had for free, however, so each year I add more grass clippings, more leaves, and straw.  This method is a no-till method, which also appeals to my lazy factor.  I occasionally have to mix the clay and soil a little bit, but the one year that we did till a little bit was a disaster and we had weed central to contend with.  The last thing that we did was add a short fence to deter bunny rabbits as well as the dog.  I have since added a row and filled in the area by the back fence to plant blueberry bushes.

The fence gate

As you can see in the above picture, I initially had grass around the beds, which is now being removed by the addition of more cardboard and straw.  it looked nice initially, but became a huge hassle for mowing and also gave me more weed problems.  I now have the entire area inside the fence as a grass-free zone!  We also added a small amount of sand last year to mix in with the clay.  I think this was a good idea, but now have thistles sprouting up in the garden…….  Have I mentioned that I have a serious issue with weeds?  I will save that for another post!!  Good luck with your lasagna- I am convinced that it is the best way to create new garden space!

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