The Art of Lasagna Gardening

May 6, 2016

It's growing season, and eager gardeners are already starting their plants for the summer. The promise of fresh fruits and vegetables is what keeps people coming back to their garden plots. But gardening is messy business, and setting up your garden can be strenuous. For many, the worst part is preparing the soil. It's a painstaking process of digging and tilling, which can feel arduous and unrewarding. 

Gardening contributor, Melinda Myers, knows this all too well. That's why she suggests something called, "lasagna gardening." 

"I think the first thing people think of when I mention 'lasagna gardening' is 'Oh, you're going to grow a garden with all the herbs you use to make lasagna," says Myers. "It's really a type of soil preparation." 

It involves layering different elements to create fertile ground for growing. There's no tilling or digging involved, and it can be used for everything from seeds and seedlings to mature plants. 

Myers shares a simple explanation of each layer and step-by-step directions on how to do it yourself:

Layer One: Newspaper or Cardboard

"The first layer is newspaper or cardboard, and that just suppresses any weeds that might sprout through," says Myers. 

Layer Two: Organic Plant Waste

"The next 8 inches is a mix of shredded leaves, grass clippings that haven't been treated with a weed killer," she says. "You can even do cornstalks, peat moss. Anything that's organic plant waste. Nothing food, no dairy, no meat."

Layer Three: Compost or Topsoil

"Then you put a layer of compost or topsoil over top, sprinkle in some fertilizer," she says. 

Layer Four: Organic Matter and Compost or Fertilizer

"Then another 8 inches of organic matter and some compost, fertilizer. And you do this until your bed is about 18-24 inches high," says Myers. 

And tada! You're ready to plant your garden.

"The cool thing is you can plant right away. So for me this was a perfect method because I don't mind putting a lot of work in up front, but if I have to do a little bit of something every day for 3 weeks, I lose interest quickly," says Myers.