Lasagna Garden

| 2/11/2016 4:39:00 PM

Of Mice and Mountain MenI love lasagna, don't you? A flavorful concoction made of noodles, meat, cheese, and tomato sauce, layered in a deep pan and baked so the flavors meld. Yumm! My garden beds this year will be going lasagna.

Over the years I've tried several different techniques for the raised beds in my mountain-side garden. I have to use raised beds because the slope is steep enough that even a light rain washes away top soil that is not firmly pinned down by a thick carpet of grass.

Keeping the soil in these beds rich and productive has been my primary focus. When I established the beds I made my “dirt” using commercial compost, peat, and some native clay soil. I've added home-made compost each year. This involves digging-in the compost and turning the soil.

Lately I've been reading that turning the soil is not the best approach, but is a hold-over from large scale agriculture where the time and effort saved by plowing a field makes sense. In a garden, tiling and digging are less important as time savers when the soil structure is considered.

I started my quest when I began finding white fungus-like strands growing in the soil, especially near the wooden boxes, and asked myself, “What is that? And is it good or bad?” Research showed it is indeed fungus and it is good.

Briefly: good soil is more than just dirt. You know that. Good soil for planting needs a high degree of organic matter and oxygen to promote good plant growth. This fungus promotes this. But if it's ripped to shreds by digging or tilling, you lose that benefit. Thus, no-dig or no-till gardening has been gaining in popularity. Lasagna beds are a part of that school of thought. I started my trial of this method last fall.

2/18/2016 8:49:34 AM

Hi Rich, I enjoyed the video: you folks are really fast workers! And I liked the canine quality control inspector. It would be helpful if you added cations listing what you are adding in each layer, but maybe you describe that elsewhere. Great job in any case.

2/17/2016 12:45:16 PM

Awesome usage of the plastic pipe and netting to keep the material in the box while allowing for lots of air around the lasagna garden. I've seen other methods where the box is wood, or straw bales like I did. Do you think that the wood or straw containers help keep the moisture in? Here is a video of my family building our lasagna garden.

2/15/2016 9:36:48 AM

Whoohoo! I finally figured out how to log in and post a reply. Sort of. Thanks, Dave for your input,lots of interesting stuff there. When I first started my garden, I too was digging into the red clay and pit-planting for the widely spaced stuff. That made more sense than tilling up all the unused space between plants, just laid cardboard down to smother the grass and weeds.

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