I am trying to build some new lasagna style beds, but don't really want to spend money to go out and buy stuff to add to the layers. My neighbors have kindly been bagging up grass clippings and pine straw with some leaves. I put down a layer of cardboard on the lawn then put down a layer of grass clippings. I figure I would alternate between layers of pine straw and grass clippings, but was wondering how thick I can make the grass layers without it being too smelly. (Most of the grass is St. Augustine.) I know you are supose to add equal ammounts of green and brown, but I am wondering how much I can "cheat" without it being too smelly.
I just raided the community paper recycling bin and got more newspaper and cardboard. Can I put additional layers of cardboard on? I am thinking about using these beds in Febuary, so will 7 months be enough time for it all to break down?
Yes, indeed. You'll find you can keep adding more as you go along and it will keep breaking down. Soak your newspaper first, it will help it to break down faster and draw the worms like crazy. They love newspaper and coffee grounds. You might ask your newspaper carrier if you can have their discards. We do and have plenty. Also check your local coffee houses or Starbucks for coffee grounds.
I took a trip to starbucks too! This morning I didn't wet the newspaper because the grass clippings I was putting on top were moist and smelly. I have been putting on a layer every day to give the grass a little time to dry out so it won't smell as much. Do you think I should just layer it on all at once and not worry about it? I guess it rots in the bag as much as it would in the layers. I have some bokashi grain stuff. If I sprinkled some of it on the grass could I get away with more "green" grass with less "brown"???
Actually there is no real right or wrong with any sequence of layering your materials. The idea goes back to the first person who went into permanent mulch gardening. Just keep your eyes working and mind open. KISMIF...keep it simple make it fun. The action will always be that narrow unseen zone between your layers and the garden soil. The earthworms will increase in number and as they do they become the real workers making their wormways all over the patch. They will bring up good elements, eat your decomposing and composted mater then leave you with the finest manure we call earth worm casts. It takes time to really see this all begining to happen but once it does you will be amazed at the total soil improvement. It will keep getting better with each day, week or months you keep adding layers. There is hardly anything you can do wrong. The modern term for this is descriptive and much used today but the process is by no means new. Hang in there. You will be much pleased with your efforts and the results.
Great thread, Tabitha, thanks for starting it. I have been layering leaves in the garden for mulch. I also have alot of cardboard that I recently got from buying new desks. I cut the cardboard and placed some under the leaves. I still have more to do. The only problem I have this time of the year is there are no leaves to be had. I've been unable to find grass clippings. I'll probally put an add out on Craig's List. Maybe something will turn up. Any other ideas would be appreciated. In my own lawn I mulch my grass clippings. I want to try to get away with having to buy to much. I rather save my money for something else.
Dean, check with some of your local lawn services. Try the small operators they are more likely to get clippings that have not been contaminated with chemicals. Our guy leaves us bags of the stuff and he only will do organic. His clients are very pleased with his service and he's been able to talk most of them out of using chemicals on their lawns. I gave him a 'cheat' sheet on composting that he's been passing along. :) Good stuff!