It doesn’t come from an Italian background, there’s no pasta involved, and it isn’t Garfield’s favorite entree. Lasagna gardens gain their name from the layering technique used to build up a gardening site with a plant’s favorite nutrients. Moving soil isn’t easy, and for gardeners who are fed up with tilling, a lasagna garden is the solution.
For lasagna gardening, raised garden bed kits are popular due to the control they gives gardeners over the soil, watering, and spacing as well as the ease of its set-up and care. Instead of digging into packed, mysterious earth, gardeners can assemble a raised bed and fill it with soil in minutes. This method coupled with lasagna gardening could possibly be the simplest gardening method WITHOUT losing any garden quality. Maximum garden for minimum effort (our favorite combo!)
What You Need
- Raised Garden Bed
- Veggie scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds
- Lawn Clippings
Placement and Size of Your Lasagna Garden
The most important aspect of garden placement is the availability of sun. Ensure that the garden will receive roughly 6+ hours of sun daily. The good news? Lasagna gardens aren’t inhibited by size. So you can build your garden as large as you want. Important Note: Your lasagna garden needs to be at least 16 inches deep. It’s the price we have to pay for ease, but most raised beds can be stacked to create deeper beds.
16" Tall Stacked Raised Garden Bed - Img source: GardenInMinutes.com
How to Build up Your Lasagna Garden
Honestly, just pile the layers until it crests over the sides of your raised garden. Having said that, there are popular build patterns that ensure your lasagna garden breaks down properly and provides maximum nutrients to the plants:
- Lay a thick layer of newspaper and/or cardboard down. The first layer protects against weeds and provides a solid base for the rest of your lasagna garden. Water this layer.
- The next layer is compost. If you haven’t made compost because it can take a while and you didn’t realize you’d be creating a lasagna garden, just use soil/compost from your local gardening center. Water this layer.
- Add an inch or so of straw. Do not use hay. The difference may seem negligible, but hay has a higher propensity to carry weed seeds. As the straw breaks down it will add nitrogen to the garden, which plants crave. Water this layer.
- If you didn’t know how to make compost, then step 4 is dually helpful. Veggie scraps, coffee grounds, and other plant based organic waste from our daily lives can be used to create compost as they break down. For the fourth layer, we want to add these elements so they may break down within the lasagna garden itself - adding yet more nutrients. Water this layer.
- More straw and water.
- More organic waste (or pre-compost components) and water.
- Finish off with a good layer of compost (or soil). If it isn’t 16 inches deep at this point, then repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 until you’ve reached that mark. Water.
You may have noticed we water after each step is complete. This helps weigh down the layers and press them together. Lasagna gardens are meant to settle, but instead of tilling them back up, you just add more layers!
Your lasagna garden is now ready for planting! The following are some veggies that thrive in lasagna gardens, enjoy!
- Asparagus - Springtime
- Beans - Springtime and needs supports
- Cucumbers - Springtime
- Garlic - Fall/Early Winter
- Lettuce - Spring and Fall planting
- Potatoes - Early to mid-springtime