Saturday, May 02, 2009

Lasagna Gardening

So the lasagna garden is in and doing well. It's my first real garden, other than the herbs and cherry tomatoes I've grown on the deck and once, when I had 3 tomato plants in Albuquerque. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that most, if not all of the plants will make it.

This garden holds 2 tomato plants, 3 jalapeno pepper plants, 4 bell pepper plants, 2 swiss chards, 3 buttercrunch lettuce, and 4 squash plants. I might try putting in a chunk of green onion later, because I've heard they can just be put in the ground and they'll grow.

And no, lasagna gardening has nothing to do with the ingredients, but rather, the layers. I first read of this on Joanna's blog "Applique Today".
She started one last summer, planted in it right away, and harvested some awesome tomatoes.

I bought the book and began saving newspaper and cardboard boxes. It's great in that there is no digging or tilling or building frames for raised bed gardens, etc. I took the rotting lumber that outlined the front flower bed and stacked them next to the gravel drive, because the ground slopes. If it had been level, I wouldn't even have needed to do that.

Basically, you start with a layer of flattened cardboard or thick layers of newspapers and lay them where you want your garden to be. Wet them down well, then begin layering peat moss, composts, mulch, bonemeal, grass clippings, etc., wetting each layer and repeating until the area is 18-24" deep. You can plant directly into it, or you can make one of these in the fall and let it "cook" over winter. As I didn't have any compost started, or chopped leaves or grass clippings, I bought all my stuff from Lowe's and a local gardening shop. I won't need more than peat moss and maybe coarse mulch from now on, as I plan to start a compost heap.

I decided to curve the front flower beds, as I like the cottage style, and it's easier to mow on a curve than angles. Here's what the front looked like last spring, and this is how I've changed it:

I had done several layers last fall, and added to it slightly this year, but still had to dig a hole through the newspaper to add this year's plantings to the front. As I'm extending it out over part of the lawn, I again laid out layers of wet newspaper, then layers of peat moss, mulch, and some mushroom compost and wetting it all down. Another layer of coarse mulch over the old and new, and I think I'll leave it alone until fall.

I couldn't resist adding some sweet William, lavender and bachelor buttons to the older area, though. I've never seen bachelor buttons before; is this not a weird, but cute flower?

The lantana is spreading and blooming beautifully, but the gardenia bush looks as if it may not make it. (Last year I'd planted the sweetshrub there, but it didn't last, and then I moved the gardenia bush to that spot. It did well until about a month ago, and then started getting brown. I don't know what it is about that particular spot!) The tattered hosta was under the bird feeder and being shredded by squirrels and birds scavenging for food, so I've transplanted it and hope it will recover.

And it looks as if the oak tree is dead and will need to be taken down before the late summer hurricane season is upon us.

I'll probably call for estimates this week. It was really a lovely tree, but last year's drought must have dealt it quite a blow, because it never recovered. Once it's up, stump and all, I'm thinking of planting a magnolia tree there. I love magnolias.

While yard-saling today, I hunted for tomato cages, and something I could make a compost heap from, but no luck. I did get some fun things, and was able to view some lovely lawns and homes in a really nice area. Guess they've been hit hard by the economy, too, though, because on one cul-de-sac alone I saw 4 houses for sale. I'll bet they were $750,000 homes, which is a lot for this area.

Anyway, if you're thinking all that tilling and digging and building is way more effort than you want to put out, you should check out the lasagna gardening method. The heaviest thing is hauling those bags of peat moss over to your site.


MightyMom said...

interesting! but it sounds like you've made your garden a compost!!

have fun, I hope it all blooms and fruits nicely for ya.

Pat said...

Thanks for sharing this! I would like to garden but I always get *the willies* thinking about rototilling the dirt!

Jean said...

Interesting way to garden...hope it grows well, I love the fresh tomatoes! I don't have mine in yet.

SueR said...

Tis the season for...yard work! And you've been mighty busy! I am fascinated with the lasagna garden concept, and I was convinced after I read Joanna's blog and saw her photos. I see a new book in my future! Thanks for sharing!

Libby said...

I remember when you spoke of this last year. I had hoped to try it on for size this year, too. Maybe next year. Happy Harvesting *s*

jenny said...

Wish we lived near you, we'd cut the tree down for you and you could have firewood!

Good luck with your little garden.. I've seen the lasagna method and it works well from what I saw. I plan to do that in a spot closer to the house for asparagus beds and strawberry beds, too late this year, next year will have to do.

jacquie said...

love this idea...i need to get my raised beds tilled and planted. i'm's hard to get out there to get things done...(to the place we're moving to). i'm excited to have a real garden again.

Catherine said...

Intriguing! It will be interesting to see your garden develop over the summer.

Joanna said...

Wow!! You did a lasagne garden because you saw it on my blog?!! That is so cool! I have neglected the one out back that I did last year, but I have completely done the beds in front of the house lasagne style this year. So far so good - I even have my tomatoes growing among the flowers! Everything seems to be doing well. I will be looking for updates from you on how it works out!