Has anyone tried "lasagna gardening"?

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Just bought the book "lasagna gardening" and was wondering if anyone here has tried it? Suggestions? Tips?

What gardening secrets work for you? Thanks!

-- briches (vesely@webtv.net), January 31, 2002


My mom has, but didn't have vvery good results, however,in defense of the methode, she's not a very active gardener, and did not keep up with it. I've got he book, and while I inted to use it for certain areas,I've just never gotten around to it.

-- Wendy A (phillips-anteswe@pendleton.usmc.mil), January 31, 2002.

The old saying that you generally get out of something in direct proportion to what you are willing to put into it is usually right on target. I've known a couple of people who tried lasagna gardening and the yields were low to none.

If there is truly a lazy way to grow food, the entire world would be doing it.

Try square foot gardening. It's work getting the beds properly prepared, but once done it's easy to keep them up. And you will be very surprised at how much you can grow for yourself in a small space. I've had a lot of experience with this method and it's the only way I will go now.

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), January 31, 2002.

I have done a type of lasgna gardening with my flowers for two years. I lay very thick and wet newspaper down and pour a bag of potting soil or bark. I then dig a hole through the newspaper and plant my flowers. I never weed and find they don't need as much water... make sure when you do water that you soak well so it gets throught the paper, don't just lightly water. I never have to weed and it looks very nice. Last year I made three 6x6 boxes out of discarded lumber and laid very very thick newpaper and the wood chips. in the center I planted squash and melons. It worked well but the grass came back before the melons where picked. This year I'm going to try to use weed blocker plastic with wood chips.... it looks nice and sure cuts down on weeding time!!! JMHO Jamie

-- jamie (jamie@nowhere.com), January 31, 2002.

I have been trying lasagna gardening for many years. With all the manure and mulch material I have I feel it is the way to go. I get yields,enough to eat and can some but nothing like my neighbors that spray fertilizer and weed killer on their garden. Their gardens are just beautiful. I really think the way to go is to trellis everything you can and keep the rows heavily mulched so that you can weed between them or trim off the weeds. Some plants just do not do well when weeds are pulled out around them like beans,cucumbers. My trellised plants always yield better. Good luck, Terry

-- Terry Lipe (elipe@fidnet.com), January 31, 2002.

havem't tried lasagna gardening, but have had much success with Ruth Stouts no work mulch system.....I understand they are similar, but not the same....

-- Sue (sulandherb@aol.com), January 31, 2002.

I have used the lasagna bed method with success. One fall I layered newspapers, dirt, leaves and peat. I planted in it the next spring and it has done great. I have roses, hollyhocks, sage, oregano and have grown tomatoes in there. Might as well try it.

-- Lynelle westernVA (x2ldp@aol.com), January 31, 2002.

If you are gardening organically, I would wonder about the bleaching that's been done to the newspapers.

-- Nina (Ingardenwithcat@hotmail.com), January 31, 2002.

You might want to check out this URL. It has advice on setting up Interbay beds (aka 'Lasagna') and how to make them work.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of people reporting in on their Interbay beds over on Gardenweb, so you might want to check them out (try Soil, Compost and Mulch forum first). Interbay/Lasagna is the same thing as sheet composting, just taken to greater depths. I started mine this last fall and unfortunately they are frozen at the moment, so no report.

I think that the reason that relatively few people are using the Interbay method is because they have been rather thoroughly convinced that 1. You MUST sod-bust to make a garden (I have twelve productive beds going without ever turning a shovelful of soil) 2. you MUST plant in rows (idea was developed for the use of teams of draft animals pulling plows, etc.) and in later years 3. Organic materials such as manure are NASTY -- use all the chemicals that Dow and Monsanto can sell you.

I set up my raised beds (which is what Lasagna gardening amounts to) on a modified Interbay/Lasagna method -- that is to say, a good amount of the ingredients were already rotted down, like the horse manure and wood chips. Others, such as old alfalfa, rabbit bullets, etc., were added straight. I had a much shorter wait in order to be able to plant -- the usual amount of time is 3-6 months, depending on the depth you built the pile to,materials used (obviously wood chips are going to take longer),& your local climate (dry ones will take longer unless you are very conscious of keeping it moist).

Many of the best things about this method -- the ingredients are free. You are building up soil health and reducing waste (frugal). Since I also square foot garden in my beds, I rarely have to weed -- about 20 minutes a summer is it, after that the weeds are smothered out by the plant growth. Also, raised beds are easier on a back that is not getting any younger.

Don't worry too much about the dioxins in the paper bleaching process -- I have learned that all composting releases dioxins naturally to some degree. If that still worries you, you can use brown corrugated cardboard boxes, broken down. The only problem with that is that it cuts down on drainage until they break down properly.

One subject that is getting a lot of discussion lately among the composters is copyralid contamination -- it is an herbicide, used in commercial crops and on some lawns. If you add it to your compost/Lasagna, it can seriously affect the ability of your plants to grow. People are beginning to report nearly total crop failure due to the copyralid not breaking down for several years in the soil. If you have a source of free grass clippings, or even some hays, that you do not know the growing history on intimately (i.e. your own, your best friend, your family), it might be better to steer clear of that source. It may even be tainting some animal manures through hay consumption. It has been problematic in the bagged manures and composts sold in the big chain stores on the west coast -- excercise caution in what materials you use.

That URL -- http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/data/soil/2000081841014638.html

-- julie f. (rumplefrogskin@excite.com), February 01, 2002.

I read Lasagne Gardening a couple years ago, and the authouress is very convincing of her methods. Having read about 30 popular gardening books in the past 5 years, I'd say that if the Lasagne idea appeals to you, then also look into Mel Bartholemews Square Foot Gardening, and Ruth Stouts books, and combine these concepts with the addition of Louis Riotte's Carrots Love Tomatos. It worked for me. Check out Bill Mollison's Permaculture books, for landscape ideas. Create good soil above ground level to insure good drainage, rotate your crops, be carefull not to burn your roots with manure, compost anything that gives you dowbts, and mulch heavily with good compost in the spring and the fall. The two downfalls of these methods are that you must be always adding to your soils in abundance so that they maintain a balance of nutrients, and you have to keep track of what was where in the garden last year. But these are common to any decent organic garden anyway, unless you really want to get funky; then I'd suggest you check out fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com., and ask some questions there. Other suggestions... Worms. Bats. toads. butterflys. hummingbirds. bees. Groundcovers. Green Manure. Fruit. Nuts. Perrenials. Wild Planting (fukuoka). compost all soil that has fine white roots in it-these will propogate in your garden.

-- roberto pokachin in B.C. (pokachinni@yahoo.com), February 07, 2002.

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