Lasagna Gardening

Have you ever heard of lasagna gardening? It has nothing to do with Italian food.  It’s a way to prep garden beds by layering organic matter, it’s also known as sheet composting.  The layers will “cook” and break down leaving you with rich garden soil. This method of gardening is easy. No digging, to tilling, no hard work at all really. Just gather your supplies and start layering.

I’m going to share my take on lasagna gardening. I wanted to create a small garden bed for growing herbs. I can’t be bothered to dig up grass and I don’t have a tiller break up the soil so lasagna gardening seems like the perfect solution.

Step One: Create a perimeter

 I used rocks I had from around the yard. They were heavy. Ohhh my back hurt the next day! You could use rocks, bricks, a wood frame, old bottles- anything to make a border.

Step two: Layer newspaper on the grass and soak it with water

The newspaper will help to suffocate the grass and weeds and prevent them from growing up into the new soil you are going to put on top of it. You can also use cardboard but it will take longer to break down.

Step 3: Layer organic matter

Create layers with compost, old grass clippings, peat moss, leaves and well rotted manure. I mostly used grass clippings, compost and potting soil because that’s what I had on hand. Spray water on each of the layers so that everything is nice and moist.

Step 4: Cover with plastic

I used garbage bags to cover everything and weighed it down with rocks. The plastic will help trap heat and make all your layers break down faster.

Step 5: Wait it out

You are essentially letting all your lasagna  layers compost and break down into rich soil to plant your plants. It can take weeks or months for everything to break down depending on the size of your garden and what you used in your layers. Let your garden “cook” and check every once and a while to see how things are going. Once the soil is nice and composted you can get things growing!
This method seems like it would work best in the fall so your garden has all winter to break down. By spring your garden beds will be ready for planting.

I’ll update you in a few weeks to show my progress. Have you ever tried lasagna gardening? Share your tips in the comments.

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4 Responses to Lasagna Gardening

  1. Cas says:

    Wow! Never heard of this before… but I think I'm going to have to try it out. 🙂 Thanks for the great tutorial!


  2. Janet says:

    I've never heard of it but our soil here in soCal is so poor that I think I need to try it. Good idea letting it sit over the winter, then ready for tomatoes in the spring!


  3. plantedla says:

    I did my gardens this way, with a few more layers of ingredients to start and added more this season. I only wait a few weeks for it to balance, then plant in it while it is decomposing as well, just adding soil or compost mix to each planting hole. I also do blood meal and bone meal as additives between layers, since they help attract certain fauna that will break down the organic matter more quickly- and feed your plants to boot! (The bonus is that if you do it in the traditional layered method, the hay and alfalfa evenly retain moisture, helping my garden to survive the hot SoCal summers!)


  4. @Plantedla, thanks for the tips. Great advice!


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