NokeStar GreenThumb
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Lasagna Composting?

The soil at my house is 100% red clay. I tilled my garden area for over an hour breaking it up as much as possible. I then added several bags of compost and 1 bag of manure and tilled that in. It looked good until the first rain fell and the sun came back out, now the soil is rock hard once again!

I am thinking of doing a lasagna garden on top of my current site along with a traditional compost this fall when the vegetables are finished. Has anyone done this before?

I want to lay wet news paper down, grass clippings, mulch, peat moss, food scraps, brown leaves etc. wet it down real good and then cover it with a black tarp to lock in moisture and retain heat. I was figuring I could let this rot over the entire winter season, turning it once a month and then eventually tilling it all in the following spring.

As I stated I am also going to start a traditional compost pile as well to help out and I'm starting a worm bin (should keep me somewhat occupied this winter). Just curious if anyone has tried this approach to improve your soils condition.

Thanks
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gixxerific
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I just did the same thing for a section I'm trying to get ready for next year.

I grabbed about 12 bags of grass from my MIL's house. I tilled my section it already had a good 4-5 inches of grass on top the actual lawn. I cut open the paper bags of grass and laid down the paper, leaves, peat moss,coffee grounds (from Starbucks) and grass. Don't have any leaves here but there is the mother-load right up the road that is good to get a truckload of leaves at. I also ground up the leaves with my mower first makes them much smaller which allows easier access for the microbiology.

I think you will be better off with clear plastic, black plastic will reflect the light and heat that will help what you are trying to do which is basically solarization.

Good luck with your clay. I have the same garbage here myself. :( This stuff is just awful and very rocky.

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farmerlon
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Location: middle Tennessee

Re: Lasagna Composting?

NokeStar GreenThumb wrote:I am thinking of doing a lasagna garden on top of my current site along with a traditional compost this fall when the vegetables are finished. Has anyone done this before?

I want to lay wet news paper down, grass clippings, mulch, peat moss, food scraps, brown leaves etc. wet it down real good and then cover it with a black tarp to lock in moisture and retain heat. I was figuring I could let this rot over the entire winter season, turning it once a month and then eventually tilling it all in the following spring.
Sounds like a great idea to me. That should go a LONG way toward improving your soil.
I have also found that just keeping the ground covered with organic matter really helps. For instance, if I have recently tilled or worked an area of the garden that I will not be planting right away, I always cover it with a layer of grass clippings, leaves, or similar. I'm not a scientist, but I suspect that doing that helps to constantly add/maintain Humic Acid in the soil, which helps to keep the clay loose.

I started working my Heavy Clay garden soil about 3 years ago, and have been contantly adding organic matter: compost, manure, cover crops, etc... .
Now, the soil has improved to the point that I rarely have to break out the tiller... I can usually just work the soil with a Hoe and a Rake!

Garden Gal
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Location: Silverspring, Maryland Zone7A

Lasagna Gardening

This style of gardening means no tilling needed. Just lay down your base of paper or cardboard over the area and wet it thoroughly. Then start laying, with peat moss every other layer. You don't have to wait to plant until next year, although if you don't need it now, then waiting is beneficial. But you can plant right into the fresh layers now. just pull apart a hole for transplants, or what I did was add an inch or two of soil to start seeds. It's working fine. Once you attract the earthworms, they become your "tillers". Next season the new garden will become the established garden. Just keep adding layers. Turn if you want to get some of the broken down material closer to the top and turn in old mulch. Some suggestions for the layers are:

grass clippings
household food waste (no meat)
coffee grounds
leaves
straw or hay
compost
garden soil
peat moss
(no needles from trees, etc.)

It needs to start out at about 24 inches deep.
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Margo Hope
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2cents
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Location: Ohio

Sounds like a great plan. remember lasagna means layers and there is no need for using the tiller witht his style. It is a great method for adding organics to the fertility of the clay base.

most of the time I start a new lasagna bed, i plant beans or potatoes the first year. Everything does well the following years.

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