Have you heard of the lasagna gardening method? I just recently learned about it and I’m impressed with the results. If your garden has been plagued by weeds, using this no dig gardening method is one of the easiest ways to control weeds in your vegetable and flower beds.
Let’s be honest: weeds are probably the one downside of growing a vegetable garden, unless you are a weeding lover.
Yes, there are some weeds that are good for the garden, and others that are good for the table, but all in all, most of us vegetable gardeners would prefer a weed free garden.
Many gardeners set up their vegetable beds by using some kind of a plowing method which consists of turfing and turning the soil, feeding and then planting. And to be perfectly honest, this is not an easy way of creating new beds, particularly if you have stubborn weeds such as couch grass.
Not so if you choose the lasagna gardening method. So what does this method entail? Let’s take a look.
Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your garden.
Lasagna Gardening Method
To make a no-dig plot or lasagna bed you must first decide on the size and shape of the plot you are going to use. Then peg and rope it off.
You can either make the bed directly onto the garden area you wish to use, or you could border the bed with a wooden frame, making a raised bed. I prefer the raised bed lasagna gardening.
1. Start with your bed (lasagna gardening raised bed)
While it’s not essential to create your lasagna garden in a raised bed, it can help to keep the garden bed neat. It doesn’t need to be high and could be made from old floorboards or fence boards.
You could also use stones to border the bed, or even metal roofing.
2. Line bed with cardboard
Once you have prepared the border, place flattened old cardboard boxes on the bed overlapping each sheet and soak with water.
The cardboard is going to act as one of the barrier weed control.
3. Add a compost layer
Once the cardboard is thoroughly wet, cut stinging nettles or comfrey and allow the leaves to wilt before layering on top of the cardboard. This will provide a good boost of nitrogen for your vegetables to grow.
Spread bagged fall leaves, or virtually any other organic matter in layers. Leaves should be thinly layered. If they’re too thick, they mat together and prevent moisture from getting through.
4. Cover with a layer of well-rotted manure
No garden should be without a good layer of well-rotted manure: add some to your bed now.
5. Sprinkle some grass clippings and shredded paper
Add a fine layer of grass cuttings as well as a dressing of shredded paper.
6. Add topsoil and multi-purpose compost
Next top the bed off with some topsoil mixed with garden compost or bagged steer manure. You could also use multi-purpose compost.
7. Finish off with some fishbone fertilizer
Finally add a few handfuls of fish bone-meal fertilizer for every square meter.
How to maintain your lasagna garden year after year
Over time, you should keep adding more layers, even after the bed is planted. This garden bed will be permanent: no need to re-make this every year.
Just keep adding shredded paper and other small textured mulch, peat moss, sawdust (in small amounts only), shredded leaves, compost, lawn clippings, straw, small sticks and so on.
If you have a shredder, it’s even better (this inexpensive one keeps me going: so worth it!!!). Finely chopped materials won’t pack down, and make much better soil. Add some earthworms to the soil and watch them mix it up for you.
Keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out, and plant it with a cover crop in the fall to prevent soil erosion.
Learn More About Lasagna Gardening
Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!Lasagna Gardening: An Introduction To No-Dig Vegetable Gardening Using Sheet CompostingLasagna Gardening for Small Spaces: A Layering System for Big Results in Small Gardens and Containers (Rodale Organic Gardening Books (Paperback))
Want o actually see how it’s done? Watch this short video
Other weed control methods vegetable garden growers use. And to keep on top of those weeds, which is best? Hand weeding or hoeing.