We got the idea that we needed more garden space in order to divide and plant our perennials this fall.
So I looked on the Internet for basic instructions for a 'lasagna bed' and found some lists of ingredients and suggestions for 'how to's'.
The thing is, we don't have all the 'kitchen scraps' and lawn cuttings etc. to make the layers so I got hold of some straw and 'mushroom compost' and pine bark nuggets and made some layers (12 inches high)...
Now, my question--does anyone here have experience with planting perennial divisions right into the new layered bed?
If so, how did your lasagna bed work out the next season?
Here is one of my main sources of info--she seemed to think her bed was a success...
For immediate use, I just mound up lots of bags of cow manure/humus and cheap top soil. I do have several beds that I started with the technique you are referring to in the link. The layering with cardboard, newspapers, clippings, kitchen scrapes will need to "cook" over the winter, then, in the spring, you'll have a no dig bed that's ready for planting.
Someone else may be able to correct me if I'm wrong.
A friend at work does this "lasagna" thing, Tabasco. She is layering newspaper this week. She does it over a few weeks time. So far, she can't think of a reason that everyone doesn't work new beds this way.
I've never heard of "lasagna beds" but I'm liking this method of working new beds. I've been cutting the grass out first and then digging in compost and sand - It's really hard work and slow going - I think I'll give this a try! I'd like to know more about it - what is used in the layering and why the layers??
I had some new raised beds built around the house many years ago - one of them was over a grassy area and I thought I would have to dig it up. But the guy who built the beds said no - we layered a couple inch or so of newspapers, wet them down and put a layer of topsoil - maybe 6 inchs (it is a low raised bed!) on top of the newspapers.This was in the fall - planted it in the spring - never saw a bit of grass or newspaper in that bed again!
Fancyvan, you don't know how happy it makes me to hear that - I'm seeing my borders expanding as we speak ! My rose bed needs to double in size (at least) and it needs to be raised and I've been dreading having to cut all that grass - but now I don't! Oh, happy day! Yay! :-)
I decided to try to make our new bed now because fall is coming and there will be lots of chopped leaves available to 'layer' into the beds (although I think this bed is pretty high right now with the straw and compost and the leaves I had left over from last fall)...
My 'landscaper' advisor told me to use pine bark fines and some shagnum moss in combination with other materials if I need more 'additives' and to keep it 'light' so the air/water could circulate in the soil. Not just straight 'top soil' from bags or in bulk--that's too heavy, he said.
I have researched the 'Soils' forum and there is lots of material there on creating raised beds and lasagna gardening FYI. But I posted here to hear some reports of how it worked for Perennial Flower gardeners.
I'm no expert but it's fun learning about these new ideas that seem to work for others. I have visions of all kinds of new beds around the yard (what yard?!!) too!
Most of my garden beds have been done in this manner.
1.Cut the grass very short,
2.layer newspaper on top, wet it down, Use 5-6 sheets of newspaper and overlap it
3.layer 3-4" of a well aged farm post (I use some from a horse track that is the manure and straw ground up and aged).
4. Plant into it by moving the farmpost back where you are going to plant cut through the newspaper, plant and tuck the plant in with the above layers.
In no time at all the grass will die and decompose and you will have a beautiful weed free bed. I doubled my rose bed that way this spring, plus added another bed. This fall i am going to expand one more. I decided to work this way because if I used the true lasagna method it would be years before I had enough scraps to add to it. I do compost and use that to supplement my gardens.
I tried my first lasagna bed this summer. Layered 5-6 sheets of newpaper and then topped with about 4" of partly decomposed leaf/grass compost and some old Miracle Grow from some pots and barrels in the garage. Would have liked to have had more to pile on, but that was all I had available. I went ahead and planted the beds a couple weeks ago by cutting slits in the newspapers. So far the daylilies and Iris are growing fine and only a few weeds have germinated from the compost. Sure is easier than rmoving sod! Wish I would have learned this a few years ago before I removed all my sod.
t, I've been experimenting with a few variations of this method, all with success. The earthworm activity I've seen has been amazing! In some areas where the soil is already good, I've only put down cardboard and mulch over that and started planting a few weeks after.
Can't wait to see how your project progresses! Be sure to keep us posted :)
I am sure glad we can kill grass with newspaper. I dug up about 30' x 3' area of grass this past spring. Never again. At least it'll be good for something. There is nothing good to read in our papers lately. :)
This is fascinating, and I will try this too. I was going to get the book from the Library, but of course it is out till Sept. 26.!! We can get newspapers easily - do you remove pages with color print? - and rotted leaves from the city compost pile. My own compost is not enough yet ( have been here only less than one year).
I put any newspaper down, or cardboard. Then soak that. Next, green stuff (lawn clippings, leaves, etc.) then brown, then water, then green, brown, water... until you get the size bed you want, or 3-4 layers. That's what I do. My neighbor imports manure and such from our surrounding farms. Whatever works, eh?
Tobasco, I am right ahead of you on this, maybe by about 2 months? Except I'm not wanting to put perennials in mine. Yet. See the least 2 paragraphs.
I started with cardboard boxes and only put newspaper where the slits were or where the contour of the bed needed more than the square of the cardboard. Then I wet them down again and again...does cardboard repel water? Sure seemed to!
I used a mix of 1/3 fallen leaves from an unhappy tree, 1/3 fresh grass clippings and 1/3 Starbucks coffee grounds -- very heavy coffee grounds! Over all that I put about 2 inches or so of screened finished compost, so it looks really nice and could be used as a seed bed.
It has decreased in volume way more than I expected, and I suspect yours will, too, but I see you've mounded yours way up. I am not planting perennials in mine until I feel that the height I want has been achieved...maybe 2 years? I am going to put fall sown annuals and biennials in mine and WS jugs (ug, you know how I feel about *that*!) Hopefully next year I can add more stuff to it, especially the forest fines. IMHO your landscape advisor is right: Forest fines & spagnum is the way to go. AIR becomes critical, even in pure humus. I am going to add that next year.
Mine is in the backyard and I am literally having turf wars with my husband. We had a patch of grass which was hard to mow and I had to annex it before he changed his mind and tried to make the mower access to it wider (and my flowerbed narrower!) Sheesh!
Thanks for the laugh! We were having turf wars, too, my LH claimed that my plants were making it too difficult for him to mow around.
I pointed out that all he had to do was kill the grass around the plants and I would pine straw it, creating more of a "bed" look. That gave him the chance to use the Roundup and kill some fire ants, so he got to be macho... LOL
I also started planting beds where the grass wasn't doing well and enlisting his help in getting rid of the grass.
Our new deal (his idea) is that if there is a place that's a pain to mow, it becomes my turf.
I love the lasagna idea because I am the digger here, and I spent WAY too much time this year creating beds instead of planting. I think he will like it, too- he likes to build raised beds because they are "neater" looking.
tabasco, I've planted perennials in my lasagna beds fairly soon (a week or two) after making them.
My first two lasagna beds were fairly high, so I did not have to even go through the newspaper at the bottom. The last two I did were not as tall, so I did go through the newspaper on the ground, but not very deeply.
I just dig a hole in the lasagna bed wider than I would normally dig, and fill with topsoil and composted manure, then plant the perennial in it. If I am digging through the paper into the soil, I mix some of that in with the topsoil/manure.
I was worried, especially the first year when the beds were so high, that I would have to replant the plants after the beds settled. But it turned out that the plants settled right along with all the decomposing materials, and it worked out great.
This is pretty much the only way I do beds now. This fall I will be adding on to some conventionally-dug beds by using the lasagna method, so I have to raise the level of the old beds somehow. Still easier than digging!
Good luck to everyone trying this for the first time!
Okay, I'm rubbing my hands together with anticipation and groaning at the same time. Something else I want to try! Woo hoo! Actually, this one may go near the top of my idea list, since I cut out sod this year. I agree, it's no fun.
Now...where can I do this??? :) Thinking...scanning...planning...
Good information everyone--thanks for taking the time to advise -- you have definitely raised my confidence level!
I am going to the Daylily society meeting this weekend so I hope to come home with something new for the bed. I'll plant them then, and see if my compost is too 'hot' to do further plantings. A large percentage of my bed is 'mushroom' compost and I am worried that it's too strong...wish I had some chopped leaves to add...
I've been trying to talk my husband into helping me save some of our leaves this year instead of letting the city pick them up. I compost all that I can in the two bins I have, but I'd love to have a stash to mix with the grass clippings in the summer and to use as needed in other places.
Silly man, he thinks it's not practical. I'll find a spot.
Good luck with your bed, tabasco, and have fun at the show.
I've been trying to talk my husband into helping me save some of our leaves this year instead of letting the city pick them up. I compost all that I can in the two bins I have, but I'd love to have a stash to mix with the grass clippings in the summer and to use as needed in other places.
Silly man, he thinks it's not practical. I'll find a spot.
Good luck with your bed, tabasco, and have fun at the meeting.
Run over the leaves a few times with the lawnmower and your pile will shrink dramatically. It also helps the leaves decompose quickly.
I collect all my neighbors leaves too and after the lawnmower trick my mountains are down to a pile. I also collect everyones discarded Xmas trees and use the boughs to cover the garden after the ground freezes. Last year I cut up 12.
Wowsa, 12 trees?? That's a lot of work. If you ever get bored, I've got a brush pile I'm trying hard to shrink. :)
Actually, we have a leaf blower/shredder, thank goodness. Last year my husband filled 40-50 yard waste bags of shredded leaves. I shudder to think about how many we'd need for unshredded, not to mention all the raking. And then the aching.
I think there are few places in the way back yet still accessible part of the yard where we could put up some chicken wire or something to contain them.
Tabasco & Winging, I've bought a leaf shredder this year that's supposed to turn tons of leaves into shredded piles that will compost more easily. I'm planning to rob the neighbors of any leaves they don't want & start a serious compost pile. One of my neighbors (who has a yard that looks like it belongs in a magazine) has acquired three rabbits for additions to his compost pile. If you want to come & shred, let me know. I would love to have advice for my garden!
Shredded leaves made a huge difference in my beds this year. I put down a layer in spring and now it's a rich, black layer of worm castings. Last year we were given a leaf blower that also sucks them up like a vacuum cleaner, shreads and bags them. It was great- just had to empty them onto the garden. It made a pretty mulch too.
pegdog howdy back to Virginia - this is a very cool site!!
Greenjay - those are some nice looking beds!
What is it with husbands and lawns anyway - I have one too that's always worrying that there won't be any lawn left when I'm done making my beds (which will be expanding at an almarming rate after this very educational thread!!!!!). And I'm the one that moves the lawn! I say it's too big! He almost had a heart attack last fall when I expanded one of them "a bit" (not nearly as much as I would have liked though! - it will be getting bigger) - but then when it started filling up this summer he had to admit that it looked pretty good (even better than the raggedy grass that was growing there before) LOL!
Wouldn't mind getting one of those leaf blower/shredder things - I'm all for things that make life easier!
LOL yes, we pile all of our shredded leaves along the back lot line where our property meets a county forest.
It makes wonderful 'organic mulch' but not enough for all the new beds I have in mind, so I'm going to ask all the 'mow and blow' fellas who work on our street to dump their chopped leaves in my front gardens. My neighbors are already concerned about my 'lasagna bed' project in the front and I wonder what they will think with my newest proposal?!!
Of course, the downside of this plan is that the chopped leaves make nice nests for the nasty critters that eat my spring bulbs...
That's better than what lives in them here! I am not a girly girl by any means but I sure can jump fast when a roach (oh, I'm sorry, "Palmetto bug"- that sounds so much nicer) comes up out of the mulch!
Tabasco, what fun for you! New beds are always so thrilling aren't they? I'm glad to see other people gt so excited about the idea of completely fresh, loose, dark soil. Sometimes I wonder if I just need to get out more ;) Y'all make me feel more normal, LOL.
I wanted to add my hearty "amen" to Suzy's earlier post. Sam and I have tried our hands at a couple of lasagna beds here, but my biggest one didn't turn out as I hoped. Basically, as Suzy suggested, the bed just settled entirely too much over the course of 18 months or so. I was really going for a raised, mounded "landscaped" bed look. I wanted the soil level to be noticeably higher than the lawn around it and I wanted it to have a nice crisp edge to offset the wildness of the cottagey plantings I was planning on. Anyway, I mounded so much that I didn't even need to cut into the newspaper to plant (this was in the fall also). I think we probably mounded about 18 inches. Long story short, about a year and a half later I was not at all happy with the soil line. My plants had settled along with the soil (someone else posted that, I agree) but the overall "mound" I was hoping for was only about 6" high. It's important to note that I used already composted materials. Everything was broken down when I layered it. I can't imagine how much my bed would have shrunk down if I had really fluffy, loose components like straw or uncomposted pine needles or leaves. We dug up all of the plants that fall (2 falls after intially lasagna-ing) and built up the bed again with more topsoil, composted leaf hummus, composted manure, and sphagnum peat, then replanted. I had all these poor plants sitting at the side of my house! LOL, I had to replant them asap. Otherwise, I might have waited until spring to see how much it settles again.
I do want to lasagna garden again. It's amazing how the grass just disapears (you have to keep it moist for best results). BUT, next time I'll do what Suzy said. I plan on building up the bed over the course of a couple of years, planting cottagey annual and wildflower seeds until I'm ready to really spend the money to plant my perennials and "keeper" plants. That way I'll know that my mound is where I want it. This whole post is pointless if you aren't even going for a mounded, raised bed to begin with, LOL. But, if that's what you want, immediately planting doesn't seem to be the way to go.
Whew! That was long! Sorry for rambling :) BTW, the soil is really, really nice to work in! :)
And - the pine needles are pretty acidic - it might be a good idea to do a pH and nutrient test on your soil before you plant. Organic material is awesome, but the "wrong" blend can result in soil that is less than ideal for the average garden plant. Sphagnum peat changes the pH as well, come to think of it. Anyway, a soil test might be a good idea. But, I guess you can only do that after everything is broken down and "cooked".
LOL, do you like my random stream-of-consciousness posts? LOL, I'm so terribly helpful (blushing). LOL.
SalmonMe, I like your posts, they are very friendly and helpful. The best lasagna bed I did was a 3' high pile of leaves thrown on top of about 3" of organic peat and cow manure. It has settled at about 18". I just toss some of the peat/manure mixture and whatever else I have handy on it every once in a while (as you can tell my style of gardening is not the most organized or precision-like LOL) and my plants grow the best in this one section.
I am using this as my 'starter bed' to give my new plants a good start because I have such yucky soil here. It feels like I amend with every organic product known to man and I just can't seem to keep it from reverting to this horrible clay/cement/sand mixture that alternately waterlogs after a rain and then dries hard as a rock. My three lasagna beds are the only places where I have any real success. This year I splurged and bought a bag of Cotton Burr Compost that I am going to try in one area up front and see if it makes any difference. Otherwise I can see my future is filled with digging up everything, lasagna bedding the entire garden and replanting.
OK. Thanks so much, SalmonMe, I am making many notes on your discussion and will definitely keep those thoughts in mind. I suppose I will have to be patient for a bit. Boo hoo.
Today we tried to plant a few things in the new bed but it was literally too hot for the plants so we shall wait for a while. Maybe until next spring. And I'll keep adding chopped leaves as the autumn progresses. I am not going to be too particular about how high the bed is in the end--I have read that an 18 inch pile will sink down to 6 inches, which is pretty hard to believe, but probably the truth!
I just saw a video of the head horticulturalist at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco receommending lasagna beds--he plants seeds, natives, and annuals in it the first year or so until it sinks then the permanent planting...he was making a butterfly garden, which is what I want to make, too. Used straight manure, leaaves and garden clippings in his, so nothing too composted to start. He loved the lasgana idea.
When I made my 'layered bed' for my hostas last year the landscape guy told me to use sphagnum, pine bark fines, and a little mushroom compost and layer in some osmocote or something to provide the trace nutrients and nitrogen. Seemed an odd recipe to me at the time, but I have seen that recommended elsewhere for acidic plants...I made up my own recipe and I wish I had followed his advice.
I want to make a lasagna bed this week for my new daffodil bulbs. I just received a sackful of bulbs to 'grow and show' from the Southwest Ohio Daffodil Society. This will be my first year for showing daffs and I want them to have the best growing medium possible...
gem-- I skimped on the sphagnum moss. Then, I had read another article about adding gravel to your planting mix to deter voles and moles so I had the landscape materials company add some gravel (they thought I was nuts and I probably was).
Anyway, I think the gravel may have had a high alkaline content which wouldn't be so good for shade lovers I wouldn't think...
I was just in the mood to 'create' with my planting mix like I do in the kitchen when cooking and it wasn't the best result.
Lots of good stuff about lasagna gardening has already been included in the thread...but it looked like a good chance for me to show off a bed I created lasagna-style. I was out digging in this bed a week or two ago to move a few plants around. I was very impressed at how nice the soil was.
For my recipe...I used a base layer of newspaper about 8 sheets thick. I then added a mix of compost, shredded leaves, misc organic matter and some alfalfa pellets. I then topped it off with a layer of shredded wood mulch.
Last year I tried crushed oyster shells as a mole/vole deterrent. Since the beds were already done, I spread some over the top, and now I always throw a very generous handful in any planting hole.
I'm toying with the idea of spreading a nice layer of it in the new lasagna beds I'm building now. It might be worth the initial money and labor to do it now - even though I will probably continue to throw some in the planting holes.
The beds look pretty flat in the picture, but there is a good amount of organic matter. First you have to include the grass that was growing there in the first place, then the grass that I dug up from the edge and tossed into the bed. I added a 3 to 4" layer of organic matter and then another 3 to 4" layer of wood mulch.
Something else I love about the lasanga method is that the sod that's covered over becomes great compost too. Stripping sod always bothered me, as the best topsoil is in that top inch, much of which was removed with the sod.
I have used the Lazangia method about 4 years now and all the above is great. I just want to add a resource that has been overlooked.
Shredded office paper. I collect from an office that started recycling through a state program and then I go diving at a place that has a dumpster strictly for paper. It's all bagged up and I throw it in my car or truck.
I love this method for any garden!!
Very creative about the Office Paper idea. So glad you mentioned that.
I noticed on my 'gravel added' beds that the gravel worked it's way up to the top level. And I did notice that I don't have so many critter tunnels and holes around that area.
(But I wonder if that's a result of my doses of 'Deer Scram' and other deer deterrents. I did notice that last year we had next to no squirrels at the bird feeders and I think that was because of the "Deer Scram" and 'Liquid Fence" applications through the year.)
I use shredded paper in my lasagna beds all the time. I tried ripped-up cardboard a few times, but found the shredded paper breaks down much more quickly. I shred all my mail, and the kids' school papers. I do put the glossy stuff in the recycling, now that the city takes junk mail, but everything else goes through the shredder. I always thank Capit*l One and Pr*vidian every time I make a lasagna bed, lol. They are great contributors to my stash of shredded paper, what with their credit card offers at least three times a week!
Does anyone know if this method could be used over/ to kill off Pachysandra? Bought a new house and the landscaping amounts to huge (6ft by 8ft) beds of the stuff and I just don't find it pretty or useful. Digging it out by hand is killing my back and don't want to use poisons in my yard as I also grow food plants as well. Any Ideas would be appreciated!
sony, join up with your local freecycle.org, and offer the pachysandra to whoever wants to come dig it. I bet you would have lots of gardeners ready and willing with their shovels and spades to remove it for you.
Good suggestion Dee. Heck I'd come get some if I were closer.
Sony you could sell it on ebay but you'd still have to dig it up a few pieces at a time.
If you're in a real hurry, mow it down (or use a weed whacker) and then use lots of newspaper or cardboard for the first layer. I must admit though that did not work out so well over my bermuda grass. I used cardboard and a thick layer of newspaper in June and I have blades peaking thru now.
A good book that relates to the above discussion is, "Weedless Gardening" by Lee Reich. He gives the best argument for what we do in creating beds as discussed above. It saves a great deal of work by eliminating tilling and the removal of sod, but do remember that the mulch must be replenished, because mulch is in a continual state of decomposition. This is especially true in hot, humid climates (central Alabama). Lasagna beds work great.
Here's my take on the whole concept -- start with wet newspapers (I like at least 1/2 inch, or an entire fold). Use plenty of materials that allow air and water to penetrate (peat moss, mushroom compost, hardwood mulch with sandy loam). Use alfalfa for green if you don't have anything else. And you can mix or not.
I planted a 50'x3' terrace this morning in mums, gaura, and pansies -- cause that's what was on sale LOL.
1) Previously had dug out the red-clay terrace semi-level with a garden fork. This loosens the soil, although its still too heavy for direct planting. Roots have a chance now, and they didn't before. Re-dug this morning because of washing and settling.
2) Spread 1/2" or 1 fold of newspapers that have been sitting in a rubbermaid tote with water for 3 days. Soggy and starting to tear, so I don't separate layers, just grab a fold and flip it open and plop it down.
3) Add 1/2" of alfalfa cubes that have been sitting in a wheelbarrow with a little water for 3 days. They are not soggy, just separated into pieces.
4) Mix in the wading pool 1 part peat moss, 1 part mushroom compost, and 2 parts hardwood mulch with sandy loam. This is a casual mix at best with the garden fork.
5) Shovel mix into wheelbarrows until I've got 10"+ of mix on top of the alfalfa. Rake until there is a shallow trench on the uphill side of the terrace, mound the mix up to 12"+, and then it falls off gently towards the front.
6) Put a soaker hose on the uphill side of this and go to a late lunch with mom.
7) Come back to a moist bed.
8) Plant directly in the bed with osmocote -- activated by heat not water -- in each hole
9) Mulch another 3"
SO SIMPLE! And if it settles too much... easy, dig plants, add more mix, or layers, and replant. Digging in THIS STUFF is no chore. I've planted in "ground" before and never want to again.
Also lost 32 lbs this summer Working through the heat in East Tennessee, stopped drinking carbonated drinks, stopped snacks except for fruit, otherwise eat when I'm hungry only. AND I am going to have a fabulous start to a gorgeous garden next year. LOL.
The more I play with different mixes of soil, the more I'm sure that it's not all that difficult -- because no matter what lame-brained idea I come up with, the plants seem to grow anyway...
A winter project for me is layering cardboard then straw over what will be the extension to my tropical garden in spring. By spring it will be ripe for planting! The soil back there is already quite good, so once the vegetation is gone it will be good to go.
What wonderful stories and descriptions of projects!!
I am also working on two lasagna beds at the same time, actually also another smaller one (3' x 4'). We had turned both beds and one of them (and the small one) got quite a bit of old cow barn stuff tilled in, the other one does not.
Here is how I am doing it and perhaps you will see some fault with it, I do have some questions:
1. layed cardboard
2. layed partially decomposed stuff from the municipal mulch pile (has a really odd smell, DH says like silage) - 5-6"
3. covered with maybe 3" of mixed older and newer horse manure
4. covered that with spoiled hay, fluffy, can't really tell the height
5. sprinkled with wood ashes
Total height may be 1'.
Here are my questions:
1. Do you think this is high enough, i.e. enough material? I can get more of the leaf stuff (see above 2.) gemini_sage's project sounds a little like mine in that her soil is "already quite good", but she puts on much less material than I do.
2. I am afraid that perhaps the horse manure is too heavy on the leaves below and there won't be enough air circulation, what do you think?
I want to use these beds 1. for blueberries, 2. for vegetables 3. (the small one) for perennials.
Our dog, Freckles, likes to lie on the spoiled hay, either because it is warm or because it is (relatively) soft. Not for long, though!!!
Thanks for all the information and all the sharing in this thread, it is great.
If you've got more to spare, I'd go ahead and add it. By spring the worms will have done their job and you will have heavenly place for whatever you want to plant. I'd decide ahead of time where the blueberries will go as they want a soil PH much lower (4.5 - 5) than the veggies and perrenials(6.1 - 6.9).
You definitely can't go wrong with more leaf mulch. You'll have really happy plants in spring- your method sounds great! Oh, and I'm a 'he', but no problem as I'm used to it even in person; I have long hair, so from behind people are often mistaking me for a woman, a 6' Amazon perhaps...but nevertheless...LOL.
Clementine -- Sounds great. No, the horse manure isn't too heavy, you'll be glad you had the weight because it will ensure good contact between the leaves and the layer beneath.
This will fall by about 2/3, so your 12" high pile will only be about 4" next August. If I were planting anything permenent like blueberries, perennials, roses, trees, etc., I would give it until fall, otherwise the whole thing, including the bushes, will sink down. This has unexpected consequences because it doesn't necessarily sink evenly. Sometimes the middle sinks and the edges stay quite high and sometimes one (or both) of the ends sinks. You might have trouble with water settling in the low spots and rotting out your plants.
Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. We can add more leaves, and we will determine where exactly the blueberries will be and acidify those spots. But I am really not happy about what you are telling me, Illoquin, about the sinking and holes, etc. and having to wait till fall. If I put the blueberries into holes in this lasagna, won't it just all sink around it and the plant will stay in place? I mean, could we not do that in the spring????
I have read the book, the GardenWeb site and of course -I think - all the posts on DG, and it seems to me that lots of people are planting in a few months, i.e. over the winter. Is it the berries that are the problem?
And I am hoping that I can plant and sow in my other bed (which is not even as far along as this one) in spring???????? Any idea how I can accelerate the decomposition?
I was just advocating waiting until fall so the bed could be added to if you need to to keep it smooth and level and draining. Yes the whole thing will sink, and your bushes will sink too. If you can't wait until fall to plant, you need think ahead of time if this will be a problem in your particular situation.
A lot of people who lasagne garden are planting vegetables or even annual flowers and then presumably adding leaves &/or tilling in the fall, after those plants ae killed by frost, to get things a little smoother and then they can rake it out the way they want it and sort of fill in the dips and hollers.
Clementine, your projects sound quite ambitious and fun. I can't wait to see pics next summer.
One thing my landscaper guy told me was that if I add high nitrogen ferilizer to my layers it would speed up the breakdown of the components. I don't exactly know why it would do that, but I thought I would throw that tidbit into the discussion. It would also add micro nutrients, I suppose, that may not be in my 'homemade' concoction.
I planted mine with perennials and some buddleias after a couple of months of settling, so we shall see how it 'emerges' in the spring. If I have to 'redo' the plants, it won't be such a big deal because the soil components are so friable.
Well, I'm excited about having a new (perennial/butterfly) garden. I received my new Bluestone plant catalog this week and I ordered seeds and am saving my gallon milk containers to get going on my 'Winter Sowing' project after the holidays. Fun, fun, fun!
I only wish I could lose 32 lbs. WayehMalamutes, I think you should write a book about your diet gardening method! I'm sure with those results (and a pretty garden next season) it would make the best seller lists.
Nitrogen also feeds the microbes that break down the organic matter, so decomposition is faster. This is especially important if using a lot of woody material, like mulched up branches from tree trimming or saw dust, as they can be slow to decompose and rob the soil of Nitrogen.
I'm getting in on the wintersowing fun this year too! The milk jugs may take over the house before I'm ready to sow, lol.
OK, that explanation makes perfect sense, gem, because the space where the landscaper guy told me to put the Nitrogen was where a tree had fallen and there were lots of wood chips/sawdust there. Now it's all green with grass.
Warm and sunny here today. Tulips are emergine. Oh, dear. A little early to be in angst over the bulb bloom issues! Oh, well!
The spring bulbs will be fine; they know what they're doing :)
It feels so good to sit down- I just finished making 4 batches of fudge, 2 peanut butter rolls, and most importantly, a huge double recipe of egg nog! So now I'm enjoying the first glass...mmmmmm. A bit early in the day for something this boozy perhaps, but tis the season, lol. And heck, my arm feels like it could fall off from all the mixing... I deserve it!
I have a question...
could you start this in an area that has mulch in it already?
I have a plant bed that has now plants in it right now but has old mulch down.
I was thinking of digging it all up and starting new. But maybe I could do this method and cut down on the work.
GuardianGirl, I think it would be fine to start layering over the mulch that is already there-it would just be another layer of compost. Some mulches take longer than others to break down, but for me its all about what I have available, so I'd go for it.
Patricia Lanza has a book 'Lasagna Gardening'. She spoke at our Garden Show in April.
She said if your beds break down and you start getting a lot of weeds you simply start over. On top of the existing bed (in this case the mulch) you add the newspaper and other ingredients. It is what you have available. Make it easy on yourself. She is very practical.
I 'did' a flower bed in the fall of 2001. I first placed newspapers (12 sheets thick) down and tried to overlap, then mini pine nuggets, pine mulch and regular cedar mulch. I didn't get around to planting in it until 2005. I lined the border with 'cement' rectangles and squares.
Here is a photo of the bed this year on June 24, 06.
Lol, I have to still measure it (don't know). You got me interested and the next 'good' weather day, I'm going to try and find out (might be next Spring). I'll let you know when I find out.
I had alot of newspapers in brown grocery bags and decided to do a 'no work' flower bed. I don't know how many papers I used at the time. It was a 'good' Fall day that I did laid the newspapers down, added the mini pine nuggets and laid the 'concert' border around it. I laid the newspapers right down on the grass.
During the time of the Fall of 2001 to Spring 2005, I laid pine mulch (other than the nuggets) and then, cedar mulch. I wanted to make sure the newspapers would decompose to dig plants.
Some of the newspapers still haven't decomposed completely, but I can still dig. I just let it sit 'to do its thing' and I got a flower bet 'the no work way'!
Thanks Marilyn. I need to get a bed ready for 100 new strawberry plants and 6 blueberry bushes and I'll need a few more beds for about a gazillion daylilies I've started from seed this winter. And I have a ton of other seeds to start still. I'll be battling bermuda grass underneath but I am game. I can be quite persistant. Just wondering what the ratio of material to garden square footage will be. I guess I'll figure it out as I go. I have a feeling it will be truckloads! lol
I guess this will be the BEFORE picture. lol
That looks like a great place for your flowebed! Looks like a beautiful and serene spot!
Actually, that's why I started the flowerbed in the first place. I had hybridized Daylilies that Summer for the first time,plant the seeds right after Thanksgiving Day and needed a bed for the seedlings. That's what prompted me to do the bed. I did it in September or October and I didn't have time to do any dig a new bed.
Well, I don't have any seedlings in my bed, don't plan to and don't hybridize anymore. I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and have had it for 8 years now. When the following Spring and Summer came around, it 'was too much' for me, so I quit (with all the activities with hybridizing). I use that flowerbed for other plants and just try to grow 'a couple of handfuls' of Daylilies and grow less maintence plants. I've started planting more and more plants 'for the Hummers and Buttlerflies'. It's very rewarding and enjoying to see them in the yard. I've even started planting 'host' plants for the Butterfly 'cats'.
I don't get the daily newspaper now, so I'll just the cardboard from the boxes I get from the nurseries (the ones that hold your bought plants) and from boxes that get delivered to 'start' more beds.
The newspapers pieces I still have in the bed are just tiny ones and are just a few pieces (meant to clarify that in previous post).
Let me know how your new bed comes out and I'll try to find out the area of the flowerbed.
Here is the flowerbed on July 7, 05. It looks like a have at least one plant there and maybe a couple more (can't see the rest of the bed) planted by early July. Forgot about this pic. I just added the Flags in the front of the bed since I had 'so much room'. lol
The flowerbed on the left of the one with the Flags (with the Lavender, etc,,,) is mine also.
I haven't actually done a full lasagna bed, but I have enlarged my main flower bed three times this summer using Brent's method. I just used newspapers to smother the grass, watered everything down well, added compost, plantone, and mulch. I then planted immediately. In the new areas, I have coneflowers, catmint, blanketflowers, mexican heather, marigolds, osteoporum, and three different types of butterfly weed. Everything has grown nicely.
Since I am not trying to make a raised bed, but just enlarge my beds, this has worked well. I too have stripped the sod in the past, and it is back breaking work.
My next step is to enlarge the bed around my foundation plants within the next month. I may add some additional coneflowers from some of the volunters in the garden, but for the winter, it will be mainly pansies, with daffodil bulbs. By next spring, it should be in good condition. Once again, I wont have alot of layers, because I don't want it to be raised. I basicly want to get rid of the grass and add some enrichment to the soil.
This is so much easier than removing the sod. I don't think that I have the patience to plan a bed for the next season or next year. I want to plant immediately.
While I did strip some areas to get some stuff in the ground ASAP, I used the sod in lasanga beds for fall planting. Goats used to be housed in our barn and I've been using the straw/manure from the stall in the layers. Mulched leaves will top it off this fall. Everything grows so well in beds I've done this way, I'll never go back.
LOL well, Marilynbeth! Looks like you've been busy with the Lasagna Bed idea!
I have been pretty happy too with the results. And I agree with everyone else,
tThe flowers really seem to like it and it sure was easier than stripping the sod.
Even the 'modified method' is so helpful.
I kind of feel sorry for all the people 'double-digging' but I guess that has it's use too. I read somewhere you're supposed to do that every 3 or four years to your garden...yuk!
(And you can stop complimenting me on my little garden, as much as I am flattered--I know all of you have stunning gardens that put mine to shame!)
With the 'looks' of the grass, I know you know the dry and heat we've been having this Summer! I've been spending the little time I can outside only watering the flowerbeds and the many containers I have (front porch, front steps, end of side entry driveway and backyard patio), as well as, the 2 birdbaths we have.
does this system work in a location that has Indiana Clay soil? Clay soil is rough in really needs ammended if you hope to have any chance in digging in the summer months. I was considering this, but realised just how deep I'd need to layer inorder to never really dig into the clay and I'm not sure which would be better.
Well, about the clay and lasagna beds. I think the classic lasagna bed is about 12 to 16 inches (more the better, I think) of layered compostable material on top of whatever sort of 'dirt/clay/rocky stuff' is already there. (You can make a supportive edge with boards or rocks or nothing at all.)
After you layer the newspapers, mulch, chopped leaves, whatever, you will have a fabulously rich garden bed with wonderful tilth. Easy for you to plant in, easy for the plants to grow in, and you don't have to mess with digging the clay or mixing the clay with the amendments which seem to be counter productive anyway.
But, I'm no expert, and others can probably speak better from their experience. I have found the lasagn method great for us and I'm so glad we didn't try to dig down into our clay.
(You might want to read through some of the links posted above that explain the method in more detail).
I have horrible KY clay. I did mine in Sept. - Oct. 2001. I used 12 sheets of newspaper, overlapping at the ends of the sheets of paper, then topped mine with mini pine nuggets and then pine mulch. I have pavers all around the border.
I let it sit for about 3 -4 years (wanted to make sure I could 'dig in' when I wanted to). The soil is workable and diggable (sp?).
LOL, it's been awhile with all the extended dry, hot, humid and muggy days we've been having.
The soil is pliable, workable and soft. I guess I'm digging through the clay. I'm also digging through the mini pine nuggets (they're like a soil conditioner). I 'rake away' the pine mulch (and whatever mulch I've added since I started the bed) with a cultivator. I try to keep it well mulched.
The major bulk of the newspapers, after all these years, since I started the bed is mostly-to-completely decomposed. Sometimes I find shreded (sp?) pieces of newspaper, and I just 'stick it back in' to decompose more.
My friend who lived in this house before me used the lasanga method to start her tomato bed on top of clay and gravel last year. It has been easy to work in this year and the annuals I'm growing there have done great. She used some purchased compost in the layers with straw and it ended up being raised about 6" this year.
From what I'm seeing, it seems the earthworms do the work for you, pulling the organic matter gradually deeper into the clay and improving the soil thats there. I SOOO wish I'd known of this method years ago, lol.
I can't believe that you had the patience to wait 3 or 4 years before planting. This fall, I am actually going to wait till spring for two beds that I'm expanding (again my husband screams?) I just don't have the patience to wait. Usuallly, its five minutes.
If I ever win the lottery, I'm taking the lump sum - I can't wait twenty years to get my money. Of course, I'd have to buy some tickets first. :)
Lol, it's not like I had the 'patience' to wait those years, I just had other beds and things to do in the yard. "So many things to do and so little time", lol. If you ask my husband if I have patience, he would tell you something like, "not one bit". ;-)
I just wanted to make sure all was decomposed (or, mostly decomposed) before trying to dig into the bed.
I did some digging in it a few days ago and it seems that it needs more organic material (and/or it's because it's been so dry and so hot here this Summer), so I've been adding something called Sweet Peet. http://sweetpeet-urbanorganics.com/
It's the best 'stuff'! I just looked at their list where you can buy it at and I'm sorry to say it's not available where you are. :-(
LOL, you should get some Sweet Peet too! I got mine at the Natorps in Florence or, the Natorps in Mason if that's closer to you. Meijer's in Florence doesn't have any now. Wished I had got some there earlier in the season.
Okay, all of you experts...I have BERMUDA grass...UGH!! HATE IT in my beds! and I have a nice large strip I want to make a raised bed out of ...BUT do I need to use roundup or something on the grass first? Then the newspaper etc? Also I need to make it so I can go ahead and plant daylilies and Iris and things into it now...and not wait, so what mix should I put on top of the paper. It is in totally full sun..no shade.
Most of the posts stated the paper killed the grass, but I have my doubts about this Bermuda...so I thought I would ask. I really do not like having to spray ANYTHING in my garden, but I do have another bed that I may never get rid of the BG in...so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Hi Janet! A member with Bermuda said she uses this method to start new beds frequently, but has to use overlapping layers of cardboard over the grass to kill it. It takes longer to break down, giving enough time to smother the pesky grass. Paper would probably work too if you used lots of layers (6-10?), but cardboard would be easier and is readily available behind nearly any store. Appliance boxes are great for big beds. I don't think RoundUp would hurt, but like you, its a last resort for me to use chemicals.
Its really fun to see a blank slate, ready to be filled with plants. And it feels so empowering to be able to "create" a big, new bed in a day!
Thanks, Neal. Would you then use, bagged "black cow", nature's helper, topsoil, etc in your soil mix? I was thinking I should be able to get the least expensive BAGGED stuff and if I mix is using the right amounts of each, have a pretty good soil base...what are your thoughts on this?
I think the bed my friend who lived here before me made was done exactly like your thinking. She had great tomatoes in it last year, and my butterfly garden has thrived this year, so I think it will work beautifully for you, especially if you want to plant immediately. I started a small bed this spring using potting compost from containers that held annuals last year and dearly departed babies. Everything in there has done pretty well, especially considering the fact that I didn't water that area as much as I should have.
Janet-- I would beware, too, of that Bermuda Grass! IMHO from my experience with it I would guess it will bust right through the cardboard and be a forever pesky guest in your flower garden. Hate to admit it, but I would give it a couple of doses of R-U before making a new bed over it...
Also--And I don't know how big of a bed you are thinking of making, but you can have the compost delivered by the 'yard' from a landscape supply place and it may be cheaper/better that way. The other shopping trick I do, is stop at Home Depot or Lowes on a Monday or Tuesday morning (after the high shopping traffic weekends) and ask for broken bags of pine bark fines, compost and so on. They are generally half off or less.
Thanks for the input, that is what we are thinking as well...I am still fighting another bed that keeps filling back up with grass...we had it REMOVED! then they sprayed and then they tilled the area and brought in dirt...STILL have bermuda...it is a noxious weed in a flower bed!!!
It takes about a month, which might be too long for this particular project, but you could use solarization(using clear plastic and sun) to kill that pesky grass. The link below tells how to kill bermuda and bermuda seed (that's in the top 3" of soil) with solarization about half way down the page.
Janet-- if you have bermuda grass in the surrounding lawn I bet it will spread by the roots to the new garden, too. ---I don't know if a subterranian barrier around the edge of the garden would help, but it might.
And if you are going to use a round-up treatment, different products containing R U are available at different strengths-- try to get the strongest. Give your new garden space a treatment, then water it down after a couple of days and then a few days later give it another dose. (I think this timing is spelled out on the product labels). And don't till up the soil or anything like that. It just brings up more dormant bermuda seeds that will start growing...
I agree, if you don't want it, bermuda grass can be a noxious weed-- we had a terrible time with it in our yard in California...
Also right about the seed being in the soil and having to be dealt with..that is a great article, thank you so much for the helpful information! I am thinking round up, a barrier around the bed, black plastic over the top and dirt on top to plant in...not holes in the plastic...maybe then it will stay cleared of the grass...lol I think it is a coin toss though..lol
I just read thru this entire thread. Great info. My question is will wild onions grow thru with this method? When we had our driveway paved I was told that if you don't spray to kill them they will grow right thru asphalt. So can cardboard & mulch layers stop them or should I spray first? Trouble is the bulbs sometimes are lying dormant so it's impossible to know where they will show up. Besides Roundup won't kill unless there are leaves growing. Any suggestions? We are plagued with these smelly pests!!
I used this method on my neighbors front garden that was full of the wild onions. I did have some regrowth of the onions in the areas at the points I cut through the newspaper and planted new perennials. I have carefully removed the onions spring growth the last few years . If I had been more patient and waited until spring instead of planting immediately I think the newspaper would have been a more successful barrier.
That pic just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Very picturesque.
So if I use cardboard & then spot treat in the spring it should be ok to plant by summer? I plan to winter sow the plants & transplant into pots to hold until I put everything into its final place. I'm planning a hyssop garden - Hyssopus & Agastache. I currently have seed or plants for 11 different varieties. Should be fragrant & draw the hummers, I hope. I can't wait to get outside& get this bed "cooking".
If you spot treat in the spring you should have them under control. Another option is to solarize the area first with a heavy sheet of plastic. Another DG member suggested this for an area I had over run by the weedy lesser celandine.This is also one of the spring weeds with little bulblets. I had very good results with the plastic. This would delay your new garden because you would want the plastic down in the spring, into the summer, so it really heats up and kills the weed seeds. Then you would proceed with the cardboard,etc.
It sounds like a very interesting garden you're starting for hummers. I had no idea there were 11 varieties. Please post photos when it starts to grow in. New gardens are so exciting.
Thanks tabasco and pam for the compliment on the photo.
PF lists 67varieties of Agastache but a few of those are annuals. I may eventually decide the bed needs other kinds of fragrant plants to balance it out. But stage one is to "build the bed" & get the hyssops started. I guess a lot will depend on how big the bed ends up being. This sounds so easy I may get carried away. LOL
I've learned a lot here about adding things to planting beds. My usual procedure is to remove the sod and set it aside. Then I dig down about 18" or 2 ft. (max) and set that soil aside on a different tarp. I put the sod upside down in the botom of the whole. That discourages the sod from growing and it decomposes faster. If I have been able to get some manure I throw some over the upside down sod. Then I add 1/3 compost and 1/3 peat by volume with the soil to make a raised bed. The soil here is excessively sandy so adding compost and peat is a necessity. I plant as soon as the peat is wet. That depends on a good rain or two.
I have wild onions in a crocus bed. Talk about a pain in the neck. I'm going to try the newspaper thing first thing in spring. Thanks for the idea.
Well I've had a slight change of plans. I decided to make 2 smaller beds instead of one huge one. I have the 1st one well underway. I'm not sure of the dimensions but I used 38 16" concrete edgers around the perimeter. So it's not small! Cardboard & newspaper base, cow manure (a very thin layer b/c I only got 4 bags) deciduous leaves, sphagnum, white pine needles, Starbucks coffee grounds(I hit the jackpot!) compost, & more pine needles. After raking & hauling until my back hurts it's still only about 10-12 inches deep. I think I'm going to scout out some bags of leaves. It's easier if someone else does the raking. LOL Not to be gross but I have also read that urine is an excellent starter for compost. So I emptied my husband's bag (he's catheterized) on the bed too.
So does this sound like I'm doing everything OK?I know I need at least 6 more inches. I'm supposed to get more coffee grounds on monday. What about wood ash? We are burning a wood stove now. Should I use ashes on the bed or will that mess up the pH. Or will it counter the acidity of the coffee & peat?
Pam, I use wood ash, but spread it out some so that the lye leaches out well before spring. I've been making a bed larger and used just about anything that had a broken bag at Lowes (1/2off). Ended up being layers of humus, manure, top soil, various potting mixes and fine textured mulch, then to be topped off with leaf mulch soon. I've heard urine is good for keeping deer out too.
I used to pour urine around the perimeter of the garden every night. We ended up putting up a fence! LOL I don't think our deer are turned away by much of anything. The other night I went outside at ~1am and yelled at them. They just looked at me. Bambi's mother didn't teach them to fear "Man" , I guess. I had to run toward them clapping my hands & yelling before they would budge. Maybe they are related to the doe that ran into my car when I was completely stopped in the road waiting for them to cross. Intelligence is not a part of that gene pool!!
Sounds like you're on to a very yummy recipe for your new flower bed! (Of course, I am no expert on lasagna beds (a small disclaimer in case your combo of urine and wood ash is too powerful for the posies)!)
Yes, I get the 1/2 off bags at Home Depot/Lowes, too. If fine Mondays are good days to hit the store for those. Sometimes they let them go for a dollar too. Those days my heart really skips a beat -- I am so happy! ...weird people on this thread getting excited about urine and manure...!
We'll have to set up a seed swap to get these new lasagna beds filled with nice plants!...
When I was building a new lasagne bed, I emptied two of the neighbors bags of grass on the layers. The next layer was newspapers, but I also opened up the bags and layed them out. I realized then that they would make a really good first layer to smother grass. I have another bed that is irregular shaped, and it will be easier to cut the edges with this heavy paper instead of cardboard. A local store has a coupon for free bags every week, guess where I'm headed today??
Well I came across an article yesterday that said not to combine manure & wood ash in the same compost b/c it will reduce the nitrogen level. Don't know if that's true but I won't risk it. Since I'm doing 2 beds I'll use the wood ash on the one that does not have manure. It will be interesting to use different "recipes" and compare whether one is better than the other. However, from other articles I've read the amount of actual manure in commercially prepared "composted manure" is so small that it probably wouldn't matter anyway. I did come across an interesting chart of C:N ratios. It includes a lot more "ingredients" than most charts I've found.
I was able to get outside for a few minutes today, and while putting some worms in my lasagna bed I was surprised to see heat coming out of it when I lifted up a top layer of chopped leaves. It was toasty warm. Just goes to show you, keep trying on a compost heap to get heat, nothing happens. Just pile up a bunch of layers of anything you find, and you get heat. Gee Willikers.
added: my son came by on his way home from work, humored me and put the old meat thermometer deep into the pile. Would you believe 120 degrees? That's warmer than most hot tubs. I may just go climb in and bake my old bones. That would probably be the final straw, hubby would put me in a home.
no plants yet, this is a brand new raised bed. The walls are 18 inches tall so I can sit on it to garden, but the pile is about 2 feet deep right now. It was 4 feet, it is shrinking fast! I'm betting it is the layers of mixed grass and chopped leaves from bags that I picked up along the road. The newspaper layers are almost unrecognizable, as is the layer of the leftover brown bags the leaves were in. I didn't distrub it but a bit, had to take a peek inside when I saw the steam. I guess I'm composting in my lasagna bed that also has worms added for good measure. I added part of a rotting banana to each area when I added the worms, so I guess I'm vermicomposting, too, haha.
I reread this thread for good ideas on making another lasgna bed. My lawn guys mulched and collected my leaves into a pile and I have a zillion of them for a new bed, winter mulch, and extra compost! So exciting!
Spent yesterday looking for alfalfa meal at the feed stores to layer into my pile (I read about this on the 'soil and composting forum') and will use some newspapers (tonight everyone on the block will put out their recycling bins so I will go on a 'reconnaisance' walk this evening to pick up the discarded Sunday "New York Times") and by next week I should have another nice lasagne bed that will be ready for my wintersowing seedlings next spring!
cathy--I was thinking that the worms won't survive in a warmish lasagna bed, will they?
And I am curious about the plants and the heat level too...I was wondering if I could over-winter some of my tender perennials I have in pots by placing them into the composting leaf pile? Maybe too warm and the plants will start to grow and then freeze off? Mmmm...interesting thought. Would be a nice solution to the stack of plants in pots in my garage, though!
From the experience of someone insane enough to have been digging throughout the winter last year, the worms do (or at least, mine did) stay active in the warmth of a lasagna bed. I did have a problem with some things sprouting really early and getting damaged by frost. Then of course, nearly everything got damaged by the crazy freeze in April, so I'm not sure if the warmth of the bed was totally to blame. The alfalfa sounds like a great idea; I keep hearing so many more uses for it being employed.
I'm glad you brought this thread back Tabasco. There is lots of good info here and some great pics for ideas of stuff we can be working on (weather permitting) now! I'm so itchy for Spring I can't stand it. So far I'm learning all about winter-sowing, lasagna beds, seed collection & composting...what else can I do this winter to keep from getting the blahs? Good luck on this new bed...now I want one too
Thanks for the comment, gem. Sounds like something to try out.
Hi, dellrose--you're busy with the same things I'm learning about!
I can't add too much to your list, but I do grow amaryllis indoors in the winter and find them very satisfying and not much trouble. They are a delight to have blooming in February and March, and of course, during the holidays. I buy the bulbs when they go on sale after Christmas... I always like bulbs/plants better if I get them 'on the cheap'!
Also, dell, you can join the seed trading round robins (check out the forums). I don't do this because I'm not organized enough, but others find round robins and trading very interesting.
Have fun. The seed catalogs are starting to come in! Always lots of fun. (I like them better than getting Christmas cards!). t.
Wayside Garden's 2008 catalog is coming out now. (Be sure to check garden watch dog - this company has as astounding catalog and selection - but sadly in my experience, not near the quality and service to match.) The American Nurseryman's Association 2008 new plant introductions are coming out December 15th. This is my first year as a subscriber. No, I'm not a pro or in the business. I just like to find every source of info to make good decisions about new plant aquisitions. Four years ago I got badly stung on a salix integra 'hahuro nishiki'. This "thing" did not perform as advertised. It grew absolutely huge - 6 ft or more in a year. It required pruning four or five times a year to keep it in bounds. Maximum height was supposed to have been 10 ft. In three years it was 24 ft". It grew when your back was turned as soon as you put the pruners back in the shed. Can you tell I came to hate this tree? Anyway, back to water gardening. I also subscribe to Pond & Garden Lifestyle (formerly PondKeeper) another pro publication. Im sure no pro there either! Last issue had the 2007 International Water Gardening Society 2007 waterlily winners. One was an absolute stunner N. 'Suwanna' bred by Mrs. Kanchana (Kathy) Kokhakanin. It is white, heavily streaked and splashed with bright purple. I'm definitely going to try to find that one for next spring. Winter - the time period during which the only important activity is planning for Spring!
Yes, I wouldn't buy from Wayside either. I toss those right away! Just seems like there are better places to shop... although I see on Watchdog they are related to Park's Seed, and I have ordered seed from them...
It's as simple as digging a hole, lining it with pond liner, placing rocks around the edge and dropping in a filter and pump. Add water! It can be a weekend job, including gathering supplies. You're off to a marvelous adventure. Put a nice lasagne bed or two at the edges and now you have paradise!
Water gardening is fascinating to me, but my DH won't have one because he says the mosquitos will be awful and we don't really have a nice spot for one right now...unless we put in a creek into the woods...
I noted on one thread a sort of 'natural swimming pool' that looked interesting. They are popular in Europe and would be good in our environment...
Mosquitos are not an issue. The circulating water through the pump and filter virtually eliminates any mosquito activity. DH will have to find another excuse! Can't help with sighting issues though. Check out the water gardening forum. Ponds come in all sizes (50 gallons to 15000 gals ) and are squeezed into all kinds of spaces.
Shame on you for putting that water gardening forum link on here. I just spent half an hour drooling over the beautiful pictures. I cannot afford another plant addiction so I pried myself away. I must focus my thoughts on building lasagna beds for my winter sown plants to grow in next spring. I must remove those pond images from my mind & never wander back to that site. Wayyy too tempting. LOL
pamsaplantin - I started out with a little bitty goldfish pond (480 gal) and waterfall in the front yard. Two years later I tore up the back yard, tore out a 20 X 40 prennial bed and squeezed in a 20 x 30 2200 gal koi pond. Be careful. Be very careful. If you start you won't stop! Truly, though there is a water garden possibility for virtually every garden space (even a miniature Lotus in a tub on a patio) and for virtually every budget. Some of the stuff I've seen on the water garden forum is downright ingenious in the use of recycled or substitute materials. And just think of the plants! Lasagne beds around a portion of the perimiter are the icing on the cake. The ponds, now done and mature, have led me to completely re-landscape both the front and back yards. Brand new raised beds everywhere. Tons of new plants. Really, you wouldn't regret it. The fish are like living jewels. The animal life that visits in all seasons is so rewarding. Have I said enough? Or too much? LOL
I am new to DG and just found this thread... and I was wondering if this only works in the fall ?? I have a 4 acre yard to landscape and I am NOT patient enough to wait a couple of years to plant... Suggestions?? Thanks!!
Let's see,...if the ingredients you have in mind to use for the bed are fairly well broken down organic matter you could plant some things fairly soon. If you laid out your lasagna bed now you certainly could plant perennials in the fall.
What sorts of plant material were you thinking of using in your beds?
Others with more experience in your region and with composted materials will no doubt chime in with some good comments. You have an interesting project ahead and I'm sure everyone will be interested. t.
Well, I am not sure what materials will be used since I just heard about lasagne beds two days ago ... but I don't have any leaves (no trees to rake) and I don't have a grass catcher on my mower, but I could rake and it will be time to be mowing soon! So, that leaves me some possible cowlot manure (I purchased some last summer - but it has a lot of extra contaminents in it ...such as eartags, medicine wrappers, etc. then plus I was overwhelmed with nutgrass so I had assumed it was present in the manure...)
I have access to plenty of newspapers and cardboard - a few household items like coffee grounds etc. I do not have a compost bin (inquired about suggestions on another thread) so not sure where to start. I am sure I could obtain some busted bags of mulch and possibly some bagged cow manure or sheep... but wasn't sure if that would provide enough air circulation which I thought was important...??? Just trying to figure all this out. Planting in the fall sounds fun, but right now I am trying to get at least SOME color in my yard for spring and summer...
By the way, does anyone know if coffee filters decompose readily or should I just dump the grounds...??? THANKS!
Filters are paper, they break down also. :) Check your local paper for local "farmers" or others who may be selling manure or giving it away. Check your local coffee shops for coffee grounds. I get mine from the local Starbucks twice a week for my compost piles. You can make a compost bin out almost anything. Check the soil and composting threads for lots of ideas on that. :) Welcome to DG!!!
I just wanted to put in a quick blurb. I did a quick lasagna to expand a couple of beds that I already had. My main goal was to let the grass die before putting in some new plants. The beds actually sat undisturbed for about two - three weeks before I planted some shrubs and perennials.
I was amazed today with the number of worms that I saw. I really didn't expect to see anything in such a short period of time. I found myself wishing that there were fewer worms because I was disturbing the soil, and probably disposing of a few of them while making my holes.
I don't do a lot of layers in my beds. There was just a light layer of newspaper ( 3, maybe 4 pages), bagged hummus, and alfalfa.
pennefeather, don't worry about the worms, they'll just get out of your way. Once you've finished planting they'll come back to feed on the newspaper. They love the newspaper and spent coffee grounds. LOL
Some really good ideas in this thread...I did the lasagna thing in our front yard...cardboard from some appliance store, wet it, put down some composted manure and whatever other organics I had around and then covered it up with mulch...going to plant it this fall, did some peaking at it the other day, you know what?...That goofy, crazy, unorthodox lasagna method works!!!!!...I tell you I may never shovel a new bed from scratch again...and double digging?...God forbid...:)
I'm guessing that might depend on how soon you plan to plant the bed. If it will be sitting for a while it will finish decomposing in the bed. If you're planting right away it probably wouldn't be best unless the bed is deep & the "incomplete" compost is in the bottom so it will break down more before the plants grow into it. But I'm sure not the one to answer questions anyway. I'm just getting ready to start planting my 1st lasagna bed that I built last fall.
I did one, but I didn't carry through. I didn't know what I was doing so I went out and turned it all this spring. I'll let you guess what happened. This one will sit for a while and I may put the compost under the cardboard.
So you dig into the ground? I thought you just laid it on top
I just laid mine on top of the grass, starting with cardboard or newspapers. I no longer see the cardboard when I dig down so I guess it has all decomposed now. And there are lots of earthworms. My son discovered them last weekend & he called it a bait shop. I may have to fight him off when he gets ready to go fishing. LOL
When I first started with my yard I had a tiller do all the border area...but two raised beds next to the house he didn't do cause I was not sure about them, width, length, depth...So I watched videos online and read all kinds of articles about the wonders of "double digging"...I tell you after about an hour I started to take up golf...:)
Ugh! I hadn't heard of "double digging" so I looked it up online. No thanks! I've done beds that way in the past & spent weeks preparing them. And now they are full of weeds anyway. Lasagna beds are soooo much easier. I had a very few weeds coming up so I covered the bed with black plastic to "solarize" until I get ready to plant them. Even if I had to dig up the whole bed now it still would be a cinch because the soil is so loose & so great.
I've never seen so many worms in my life. I was in one of the beds with my grandsons today and dug down with a little shovel, I bet there were 10 or more came crawling out. Everytime I moved a little soil, there were more. C ourse Kaleb and Ian loved it, so they were running around digging these little holes and they would come out.
Guess you can't get too many, huh?
I had to laugh. The other day I got a swap in the mail & the 1st thing I saw when I pulled it out of the box were 2 tiny baby earthworms trying to find their way out of the bag. Added them to my compost & thanked the sender for the bonus! LOL
Lorraine, to go back a few posts to one of your questions, I have a lot of not-quite-finished compost, and I use this in my lasagna beds. I put it down as the first layer on top of the cardboard or newspaper, so it is buried under everything else, just in case there is something still appetizing to any critters. Since my compost piles are on the small side and don't get very hot, I find this a good way to make use of the large amount of unfinished compost I get.
Lorraine, I don't typically use 3" thickness of paper and cardboard, probably an inch at most. But as far as how you layer the other kinds of compost, I don't think it matters much. I think the main thing is to have a layer on top that serves as mulch and holds in moisture and deters weed growth, like mulched leaves, grass clippings (which you can keep adding all summer), straw, or purchased mulch (which is most attractive and neat if the bed is in a high visibility area). By fall you'll have black gold to plant in!
Hey Paul , that story is so funny, but so true!!! One year I spent the entire summer hand digging a large perennial bed on the side of a steep bank. Reading that story brought back those back aching memories. When I made 2 large lasagna beds in a week last fall I was grieving over all the lost time spent on that other bed. Live & learn! So glad for DG.
Hi Pam...I know you've heard of Gertrude Jekyll, if not she is the grand dame of borders, garden design, garden writer, OK lets cut to the chase here, if it had to with plants she was ahead of everybody else in thought and implementation, she could do everything...I tend to go overboard on some things, Gertrude Jekyll might be one...:)...I enjoy reading about her life, excepts from her books, articles she wrote and that lady lived to be nearly 89 years old, she lived during the height and popularity of double digging...If you and I never double dig another flower bed...We may live to be 89 years old too...:)
gemini sage, I thought the same thing at first - that Lorraine used 3 inches of cardboard! I thought "yikes!", lol. But I think she meant 3 inches of compost - at least I hope you did mean that Lorraine! Three inches of paper or cardboard, would be, IMO, too thick.
I know, I'm real good of confusing !! I just have so much red clay where I want beds, that I thought maybe a lot of compost and stuff would make the good stuff deep enough to at least give everything a good start for they started battleing the clay. It's taken 3 years of compost and good soil and stuff, but most of my other beds are full of good black dirt.
I guess it's good, the earthworms love it. You can just go about an inch down with a trowel and a whole town of worms come out. So at least we know, they like it there!!!
I have to tell someone! I got a new toy for Mother's Day. I've been needing (wanting) a landscape edger. I got a mini tiller (cultivator)/edger combination. I just wish it would stop raining long enough for me to try it out. Supposed to rain for another whole day. I have a full sized tiller but I'm getting too old to wrestle that thing anymore. And it's impossible to maneuver it around anything once the garden's planted. This thing is really light. Don't know what it will do when it encounters our rocky soil but I'll find out. I'm so excited!
I think I've borrowed about every kind of tool there is from friends...but now slowly, slowly I've finally bought all the tools I need...and the two guys that I borrowed tools from will never want for flowering plants again...but I've never borrowed a cultivator/edger before...Watch out Pam...:)
Lorraine...That's exactly how long its been since started trying to mend my soil so to speak and make it healthier...and like you now when I dig down I find load and loads of worms...So what people say is true, feed the soil and the plants will take care of themselves...Does that mean what my granny used to say is also true?...That if I eat my carrots I'll be able to see like a hawk, cause I've running into doorways a lot lately and wondered if hawks have the same problem...:)
gemini...I used to think that like never having too much compost there was no such thing as having too much $ but I don't worry about having too much $ since I took up gardening...:)
Paul, I hope you don't mind, but I just had to look through your photos of your garden. They are beautiful. So sorry about your echinaceas, I had no idea they could get aster yellows. They were so spectacular the year before(on the photos) you must have been just sick. I know I would have been. Have you replaced them?
mattsmom...I can't believe you looked at my photos? Why do you think I put them up there for so nosey people like you could look at them?...:)
So very glad you enjoyed them mattsmom...and yes I did replant them...I lost about 90 or so and but now I got 104 now and they look so healthy and blooming already some of them...And yes I was sick... I was sick, my coneflowers were sick, I just couldn't believe it but no matter its going to be a beautiful year this year. Lots of rain I hope, good weather...Hey I don't give you up easily, you'd have to run me over repeatedly with a Cadillac Escalade with optional All- Wheel drive to keep me down...:)
Click on their name and if they have website or place on line to store photos they will have the address listed there for you to go to...Example if you click on my name and then get my "member page" you can then see if I have a "homepage" you click on the link and it''ll take you where folks have their photos online...or you can read threads that folks have started on the same page and you might see during the thread where that member in conversation posted their photos either right here on Dave's or a link to somewhere else where the photos are...folks like Kim, zuzu and lots and lots others have amazing photos and lots and lots of them,,sure there are other ways of accessing photos but I'm kinda new here and that's what i know...enjoy the photos, folks here can blow you away with their pictures, sure have blown me away...
Genna...brag, brag, brag, that's all you do, well I got news for you...My house is dirtier than yours and I got photos to prove it...photos that have been duly notarized by my neighbors crazy uncle that was just disbarred from practicing law...Beat that girl, if you can...:)
You might want to reconsider that challenge... I have 3 kids!! One is in college and recently came home to "dump" his stuff, grab some different stuff and return to a week long camping trip that is part of a class... then he is living in an on campus apt for the summer so he literally left a trail all the way to his room with things he "won't need til Fall"... LOL Then keep in mind that I have been trying to get a veggie garden going, get flower beds done, work full time, and have had some type of meeting almost every night for the past 2 weeks and I DOUBT very seriously that anyone has a house in worse shape than mine!! (not to mention that I HATE housework) ... but I managed to find my kitchen counter again last night and got it at least presentable...NOW, if I could just find my dining room table!!! ^_^ It will get better, BUT it may be a few weeks before it does!! I have church tonight, meeting tomorrow night, sports banquet Friday night, and a trip to Little Rock on Saturday (2 hrs away) for my first ever RU ... so that day is out too... almost same senario next week as we have lots of end of school activities going on and graduation ceremony...
Oh, and did I forget to mention that I have about 20 photo collages to do for seniors prior to next Thursday's graduation... I need to CLONE myself ...(maybe more than once!!)
LOL, when I heard the challenge/whine about posting pictures of flower beds, I immediately thought of all the unmade beds inside my house. Everyone's always in a rush, and I'll agree, it's worse than usual at the end of the school year. DH is in school full time too, and he is LOSING his mind, like writing a 7 pg. paper at 1 am and forgetting to push save, forgetting to go to a class, forgetting to go to his trombone lesson, and he is an A+ student. He's just a bundle of frazzled nerves! Plus there's the kids. . . and the financial aid forms . . . and DSS is getting married in Oct and the shower is on Sunday . . . I'll show you pictures of MY house.
Genna, where does DS go to college? DD#1 is off for the first time this fall (that's another thing)...
Well, problem is I don't have an excuse! I've been there, done all that. So, I could clean mine up if I hadn't found something more fun.
Besides I did all that when I had 5 kids at home, now that they aren't there, I can move on to more interesting things. Who cares if you trip over the broom,
Gen do you ;mean at one time you could find the tables? I also quit cooking. Owned a restaurant for years and cooked every night for the fam. for 35 years. My kids always want to know, why I don't cook anymore, cause I'm a good cook. HAH, better things to do. Besides, I like cereal and cottage cheese and peaches.
Sometimes I do get crazy and tell someone I'll make them a scrapbook,. then cuss the whole time
Well, at one time I could find the table, but not lately. It is located just inside the french door that we use to go in and out of the house most of the time, and EVERYTHING gets dumped there... I had to shove everything down some to have room to sit the extra plate when my son came home this past weekend for his brief visit this past weekend... LOL
He goes to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia - about an hr away. Had originally wanted to go to college at one about 3 hrs away and decided that was "too far from home" - now he never comes home so I don't know what difference it would have made!! LOL But I guess he knows we are close enough that we will bring it to him if he needs something really bad... plus we are over that way fairly often because my other son attends pole vaulting classes near there...
I am READY for summer and HOPEFULLY slowing down some - but I am not sure it will work as planned!!! ^_^
LOL...IF IT WAS ONLY the table that is covered !!! It is pouring down rain here today so MAYBE i can make some progress before leaving for church. ... but it has a way of multiplying faster than I can get it up...
By the way, I used to have a friend from Gilmer Texas in the embroidery business... Her name was Lynn Williams (I think I have the right last name) do you happen to know her??
tabasco...That could turn out to be very dangerous...I lead a group of people out into the desert onetime...We were gone for 40 years...:)
When I was a young man I lived in the Sinai desert for 6 months or so...I hooked up with other young travelers my age...I had read a good bit about the Sinai before going, archaeology, history and modern culture etc. and it turned out I was the default leader as it were...I made it back as you can see, my fellow travelers?...Who knows...:)
Did someone ever start a new thread? I loved reading about what everyone used for their layers and how it looks over time. This is a picture of my first Lasagna bed. I used a layer of cardboard, grass clippings, newspaper, grass clippings, and pine straw. After this picture I added a layer of bannana leaves/trunks that have been dead since winter, and then another layer of grass clippings. DH said it was getting a little high so I decided to stop there until the fall when I can get more leaves. Right now there are lots of bags of grass clippings in the neighborhood, but I'm afraid of adding too much wet grass. Would it be ok if I added a layer of grass (2-4"), let it dry for 24 hours (the swarm of flies seems to be gone by morning-the resident frogs and lizards perhaps??) then add a layer of newspaper & another layer of grass?
I have an area that I want to start one in as well, but I only have newspaper and grass clippings... I assumed that I would not be able to use that much grass...
Any recommendations on how to decide WHAT to put in??? It needs to be a large bed, and I don't have any idea what else I could use. I don't even have leaves in the fall because we don't have trees yet.
I'm not really sure how much grass you can use. That slowed me down more than DH's comment about the height. I told him it would go down to only a few inches. I don't have anything left in my gardening budget to buy peat moss, so I'm using what I can get for free. Starbucks is a wonderful source for coffee grounds. I will be adding some of those too. I figure I might as well try it and see what happens. If it is a disaster then I will post and save someone else the trouble of trying it. If it works out well, then I will share that too! I am hoping that if this isn't a good idea, someone wiser than me will stop me before I make a big mess. I promise not to get my feelings hurt if you have some suggestions, but I have to admit that I don't always follow suggestions unless there is a reason that goes with them.
You ladies are making it a lot more complicated than it needs to be. This method is basically sheet composting only the area is smaller, so you can use the following, cardboard (non waxed), black and white newspaper, kitchen scraps, spent coffee grounds, lime, epsom salts, peat moss is not critical. And you just keep adding layers, it doesn't matter how high you build it, it's going to break down and shrink over time. That's exactly what you want it to do. It means the earthworms have come for the feast and are leaving their castings behind making rich organic matter. I suggest you google both Lasanga and sheet composting. You should be able to glean additional helpful information there.
It's great and works well and when you add Bokashi you get super soil. Wonderful stuff!!!
I finished reading the lasagna threads earlier this week, and finished reading the bokashi threads today. http://emhawaii.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=71&Itemid=81 gives a great overview if you don't want to read through all the threads. I am excited about both, but haven't exactly composted before, so I wasn't sure if I was over doing the "greens". My past composting has consisted of a bin where I dump things when I think about it. I have never watered or turned. I don't even know if my pile "heated up". I just want some good healthy dirt. I have read books from the library, and searched the internet. There is only so much you can learn from reading, now I am getting dirty and trying it out. From what I have read, you can't really mess it up. The worst things you can do are attract pests, make a smelly pile, or have a pile that takes "forever" to turn to black gold. So I am avoiding putting meats etc. in the layers and trying to add as much brown as I can find for free. Tomorrow is trash day and I am ready for another scavenger hunt! My lasagna hasn't started smelling yet, so I am ready for some more layers of grass!
Here is another bed I am making. Can you tell I have a little helper?
I agree with Doccat about making this too scientific. I don't have a compost pile to use. I have put down my newspaper, added bagged leaf hummus, hardwood fines (great for heavy clay soil), alfalfa, plantone, and topped with mulch. Since I wasn't trying for a raised bed, I was content with about 10" - 12".
It does work, and it is definitely much easier than stripping the sod like I used to do.
I read Patricia Lanza's book, 'Lasagna Gardening', and I am convinced that there is no perfect recipe. I think that as long as you use good ingredients that will breakdown and enrich your soil, you are doing okay. Definitely stay away from the meat.
The best thing I invested in for my lasagna beds & compost bin was a paper shredder. Junk mail (non-glossy paper) , plain tag board, etc. becomes brown matter for either location. But be sure to either top it with another layer or wet it thoroughly because you don't want shreds flying around. If it's windy I put the paper in a bucket of water to soak before trying to dump it on the pile. Learned that the hard way.
I also keep a small trash basket for tissues & napkins only. Every little bit helps. I've even read to use dryer lint from cottons. But I haven't done that one.