If you’re considering putting in a new garden and want to keep it as environmentally-friendly as possible, you might want to consider prepping the ground this year and plant next year.
Creating a great garden space can’t just happen overnight. Getting the soil ready for planting a garden takes some time, work, and organic matter to make some garden lasagna.
What is lasagna gardening?
Building your garden soil through a process similar to composting lies at the heart of lasagna gardening. Made popular two decades ago by a book written by Patricia Lanza called – what else? – “Lasagna Gardening.”
Rather than bringing in yards of soil, Lanza reasoned, you build the soil from the ground up by adding alternating layers of nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) organic matter. The green layer can include grass clippings, kitchen compost, coffee grounds and herbivorous manure. The brown layer includes fallen leaves, straw, newspaper and even shredded cardboard. Each layer should be at least an inch thick.
Making garden lasagna
This is the perfect time of year to start your soil for a new garden. It will take about a year for your soil to be completely ready. The process is simple.
- Mark off your garden plot.
- Using a shovel, turn over the soil about a foot deep and break up the sod.
- Rake all your leftover leaves from the winter into the spot. Better yet, mulch them to create your first brown layer. Save a week’s worth of newspapers and add a bale of straw and you’ve got a pretty good first layer.
- Ask your neighbors to catch their first mow grass clippings to add to your first green layer. You may have to buy a couple of bags of manure to get enough to make a good layer.
- Don’t compress the layers. You want to make sure your lasagna is getting enough air and water to aid in the breakdown.
- PRO TIP: Don’t add more green than brown; your soil will turn acidic.
- You can make as few or as many layers as you want.
- When you get to the last layer, cover it in brown matter or soil.
- Water it down to start the process.
- Walk away – for a year – and let nature take its course.
It’s perfectly fine to plant in the decomposing mulch in the first year. By next year, the soil will be perfect.