Last weekend I made a Lasagna Bed in my garden. No, this is not something to sleep in or eat, but you can certainly grow food in it!
A Lasagna Bed is actually the way for lazy gardeners to make a new garden bed. The best thing about it is that you don't even have to dig up the lawn!
The basic idea of a lasagna bed is to put down layers of carbon-rich materials (e.g. dried leaves, straw, cardboard, newspaper), alternated with layers of nitrogen-rich materials ( e.g. grass clippings, green material from your perennial beds and your vegetable garden, uncooked vegetable peels, coffee grinds, manure).
Combined with moisture, this carbon-nitrogen mix will feed the micro-organisms and fungi that decompose material and turn it into a nutrient-rich, growing medium.
The other bonus is that it allows you to make good use of the leaves that are all over your lawn right now and you'll also be able to use up all the green clippings you have from cutting down your perennials and mowing your lawn at the end of the year.
Here is the "recipe" I used for my lasagna bed this year:
- Wherever you'd like to start your garden bed, start with a thin layer of material high in nitrogen, to activate the decomposers (e.g. the fungi and micro-organisms). I used steer manure as my starter. Then add water.
- Add a layer of overlapping cardboard or newspaper, to act as a carbon layer and as a weed/grass barrier, until the composting process is well on its way. Add water again!
- Add another thin layer of nitrogen rich material. I used clippings from my perennial beds and the green shells of the beans that I had grown this summer. Water!
- Add leaves. Water!
- More nitrogen, again. Here, I added the contents of my pots and planters. This is actually a mix of carbon (potting soil) and nitrogen (plants). Water!
- I still had more leaves to get rid of, so I did another layer. Plus more water!
- Finally, I finished things off with a layer of half-composted material from the compost pile I made last year.
- You can start the bed right on the lawn, but you should end up with a pile that is at least 1.5 to 2 feet high. As the material decomposes only a few inches will be left.
Now let the snow, winter, and the decomposers do their work.
In the spring, you can dig small trenches into your lasagna bed. By adding just a little bit of light potting soil for your transplants or seeds, you'll be able to plant your fruits, vegetables, and flowers right into these trenches and into your bed.
In such a rich growing medium, they'll grow amazingly!
Maria is a landscape designer trained and educated in the Netherlands. She owned a landscape design business for 10 years before moving to Edmonton in 2005 and joining the Hole's team. Book a landscaping design consultation with Maria Beers this fall and we will give you a FREE $25 gift certificate for our Glasshouse Bistro.