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TanyaH
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Organic Lasagna Gardening?

Anyone ever do organic lasagna gardening?
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Sage Hermit
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In the bed I added banana peels under the cardboard layer to hold it together and add some K. Organic permaculture is something very new to me and this is my experiment bed. Its a bit cold and windy plus a snow is coming in a day for a brief moment in time so I am still waiting. and planning what to put in.

:D the grass I put on top blew away one time. leaving just the cardboard and soil exposed for a day or 2. Maybe a wind breaker needs to be constructed. or I all make some wind mills and solar panels to break the wind and harness their power. Maybe somehow rig a pump to water on a timer.

I recall someone mentioning about this in a few differant lobbies here in the forum. Let me try and locate them.
Last edited by Sage Hermit on Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Dixana
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I love LOVE lasagna gardening. Less work through the growing season, little to no weeds, organic material already added, what more can you ask for? This is how I do it: In the fall after everything is done I pull everything out. A layer of 5-6 sheets of newspaper gets put down and thoroughly soaked. I put down whatever compost I have left on top of the paper followed by layers of grass, leaves, leftover plants, food bits, coffee grounds etc. I also either chop everything up or run it through the lawn mower so it breaks down faster. In the past I had several small areas so when I was done I had a pile sometimes 2 feet high. Come spring it was usually around 8 inches and all yummy organic material :) One big thing to remember is the newspaper doesnt always break down completely through the winter (especiallly here where we freeze pretty solid) and you may have to tear open the areas you're going to put your plants. If you use cardboard you will definiatly have to as it won't break down in one season.
Another thing I did the last couple years was add fresh (and I do mean really green STINKY fresh) cow/horse manure throughout the garden. It seems to keep things hotter and break it down faster.
This is my first year not having a "lasagna" garden and I'm already sick of weeds :( It's only one growing season though and I'm already stockpiling materials to pile on this fall!!!!!

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cherlynn
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TanyaH,
Ah...Lasagna gardening....is there anything else?!?!?! My son and daughter-in-law introduced me to this wonderful way of gardening a few years ago. Each year I have added another "little" patch to the gardens. Here is what I do...quite similar to Dixana...although not quite as tall! WOW, Dixana!!!!

The best time to start is in the fall.

Cardboard boxes make a great first layer....right over the grass! Water them and then add layers of compost, mulched leaves, grass clippings etc. I also add coffee grounds directly to the lasagna gardens. In the past I have added chicken manure...dried aged stuff. However, adding good compost seems to work fine for me without adding any manure!!! You might want to start off by adding some organic manure. Just keep layering! Let the whole thing sit over the winter and then add more compost in the spring before planting.

Each year I just add more layers...no cardboard or newspaper...there are still very few weeds. However, one disadvantage in Connecticut is the amount of rocks in our soil. This could make it difficult to grow carrots or other deep root veggies. :eek: I check for rocks before I plant my carrots. Otherwise all grows remarkably well...

Oh yes...you will have plenty of worms! :flower: :wink: :wink:
cherlynn

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My Lasagna Garden

I started my first LG this spring. I read that you could build it and then plant directly into it the first year, so that is what I did. Nothing is broken down. I put a layer of cardboard (it dried before it got covered so i hope that won't be a problem. But next went peat moss, organic soil, manure (purchased), more peat moss, straw, household garbage, shredded newspaper, leaves, grass clippings, etc. Every other layer was peat moss, until i had about 24 inches deep.

I planted some seeds directly in, and also transplanted nursery veggies. Everything is doing great! If I could figure out how to add a photo I would post it here.

I'm so excited! No weeds except a few that blew in that i think is mainly grass, which i pulled up right away. Also have plenty of wild mushrooms popping up. I plan to turn it at the end of the season and keep adding to it until it's snow covered. I'll probably put black plastic over it right after the first snow. I started a compost pile too, so I'll have a good start on next year's garden and material to make little mini LG's all around my yard. You can grow anything in an LG!! And NO MORE TILLING AND DIGGING!!!

From the looks of things, I'll get fruit from the tomatoes and eggplant which are flowering now. The cukes and other veggies seem to be coming along nicely too.

Was wondering about buying some worms at WalMart to dump in to make sure I have them to help break things down and fertilize. Not sure they can burrow up from the bottom with the cardboard there??? Anyone know?
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applestar
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Trust me they'll find a way. :wink:
I tried a different approach as an experiment this spring -- dig up the sod, flip them in a pile, allow to dry and rake the soil attached to the sod smooth. Add (1/2 finished) compost, cover with cardboard, then straw.

After two or three weeks, I went to plant -- I was going to cut an X in the cardboard to expose the compost underneath, then planted sunflowers and corn seeds. Wherever I moved aside the straw to cut my X, there were earthworms on TOP of the cardboard. The surface of the cardboard was peppered with castings (at first I thought they were black mold and nearly panicked until I saw a pair of entwined earthworms :roll: Then I realized they were EVERYWHERE. :lol:)

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I would say the dry cardboard can be a problem. Its important to keep it wet when you apply it for the best results. You can soak it with food, by the way, from molasses to fish juice to whatever.

dry cardboard really seems to slow everything down and acts as a microbe barrier instead of a transport system.
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OK, here's my question, do you have to turn the heap at all, or do you just let it sit there all fall and plant into it int the spring? I've heard that if you compost and just layer your materials and don't turn them, they'll take much longer to break down. Since you all seem to do it successfully, I must just be missing something.

Thanks for the clarification.
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Dixana
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I'm not 100% sure how fast it breaks down if it's all whole, but I run all the yard materials through the mower before I add it and the food type stuff gets chopped up or run through a food processor so everything is already partially broken down.
Last year I went so far as to keep a couple 5 gallon buckets in the freezer for food scraps then thawed it before it went in the garden :oops: But I don't have a gardening problem really I don't.....
I DO know my newspaper was never completly broken down, but we freeze hard here and the warmer winters other places might prevent that.

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I guess that the trick is to mulch it up well before you layer it; this probably causes it to break down enough for the plants to do well.
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gixxerific
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garden5 wrote:OK, here's my question, do you have to turn the heap at all, or do you just let it sit there all fall and plant into it int the spring? I've heard that if you compost and just layer your materials and don't turn them, they'll take much longer to break down. Since you all seem to do it successfully, I must just be missing something.

Thanks for the clarification.
The idea behind Lasagna Gardening is to layer it all down and walk away. I don't believe any turning is ever a part of it. That is the beauty of it, it's so easy.

But than again we are all told to layer our compost and than turn that at certain times. So why layer it in the first place?

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Update on my lasagna garden. Everything is growing really well and really fast. I planted May 8, and have a lot of fruit showing on all my plants.

Remember i planted right into my garden after putting it together, rather than letting it sit for a winter. LG was a last minute decision when I decided to start a garden this spring. I have had very, very few weeds. Mostly along the edges where I think there is just no way to prevent them based on where my garden is located. I heard a few weeds is a good thing though so . . .

Other than something eating my cabbage and collards, I haven't seen any signs of other bad pests. The tomato plants are extremely healthy, no signs of any type of tomato worms (knock on wood).

This is actually the best garden i have ever grown. I'm new to the east coast. I'm from So Cal, where gardening is pretty simple and a year round thing so I'm learning how to deal with the shorter growing season here in Maryland.

I plan to use the waste from the current plantings as the next layer in the garden for next season. But I'm also hoping to plant some cool weather plants once I figure out what they are for this area and when to plant. Any suggestions are welcome.

Overall I am extremely happy with LG. I don't think I'll ever go back to turning the ground. I started a compost pile which has finally gotten hot, so i'll probably add that as a layer for next season too. I'll add some straw or hay as a final layer and then let it sit over winter and see what I have in the spring.

My only concern is that I've not seen any worms, even in my compost pile which is sitting directly on the ground with an open bottom. Hey TOIL . . . I asked you a couple of months ago if I should buy some, do you think I should consider it now? I do have all kinds of other little helpful critters such as potato bugs and earwigs in my bin and in the LG, but no worms. I'm wondering if the dry cardboard I started with is preventing them from coming up (although we've had so much rain I can't imagine it's not wet down there by now) It's pouring down rain right at this moment. The cardboard thing would not explain why there are no worms in my bin though. I'm a little confused by that. :?
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garden5
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gixxerific wrote:
garden5 wrote:OK, here's my question, do you have to turn the heap at all, or do you just let it sit there all fall and plant into it int the spring? I've heard that if you compost and just layer your materials and don't turn them, they'll take much longer to break down. Since you all seem to do it successfully, I must just be missing something.

Thanks for the clarification.
The idea behind Lasagna Gardening is to layer it all down and walk away. I don't believe any turning is ever a part of it. That is the beauty of it, it's so easy.

But than again we are all told to layer our compost and than turn that at certain times. So why layer it in the first place?
Well, I guess the purpose of layering is to compare the amounts of the different components in relation to each other so you don't get far too many browns or greens. At least that's all I can figure.
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It's possible that the previous owner used conventional chemical methods regularly to the point that there is a dearth of earthworms in the area. (I understand that earthworms are not native to areas of northern states above the last glacier line. but that wouldn't be the situation for you....)

I know my compost piles have been "seeded" with left over bait worms during the Trout season by DH over the years, but having a wooded area just behind the property helps too.

After so many years of chemical-free living, composting and using the compost everywhere in the garden, I can't pull up a weed without at least one worm turning up ... Usually a few to half a dozen. A big hole for planting results in unavoidable massacre.

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You may be right. I went out back where the soil is rich due to a huge mulberry tree, a lot of dead/dying browns, and a few flowers. It rained really hard a day ago, so the ground was really soft back there. I dug down about 6 inches or so and not one worm! The soil is a beautiful crumbly dark brown and seems healthy, but not one worm popped its little head up.

I think I'm going to have to bring some in.

on another note, however, a HUGE Monarch butterfly landed in my tomatoes this morning. Wish I'd have had my camera with me! She/he was gorgeous and visited with me for several minutes.

:P
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[url=https://www.monarchwatch.org/biology/sexing.htm]How to tell male vs. Female Monarch Butterflies[/url]

Garden Gal
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Apple when I looked at your link I realize it was not a Monarch at all. it was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Male. HE was gorgeous. I tried to post a photo, but still haven't figured out how to make that work successfully.[/img]
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