pic 26 at 10:59 am
Making a new 'lasagna bed' for perennials?
Got more to plant besides the pots sitting in the bed. ;-)
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?).
So Marilynbeth, when you dig a hole to plant something, do you dig through your mulchy layers and into the old clay or is your new layering deep enough to provide for your plants? t.
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. :-(
M. That Sweet Peet stuff looks like it would make lovely layers for the garden bed. You will have the mercedes benz of lasagna beds when you are finished!
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.
I didn't know there was a Natorps in Florence. That's probably closer to me than Mason.
There's a Meijer's not far away.
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....
LOL well I just read Danita's link and I see I am spreading around a bit of mis-information-- about tilling up the soil...in any case, I am right about it being a pesky weed!
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!!
pam, don't know how to deal with the wild onions if it's not the season for round up...
I know some lasagna bed makers create their beds and then treat for any weeds that emerge in the first spring/year.
Later the first summer they plant a few annuals as appropriate and put in their perennials after the weed situation is under control in autumn or the following spring.
If you have the onion around the yard and haven't erradicated it, you probably will have recurring problems with it in the garden, I would think....
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.
pretty pretty picture of the new garden, semp!
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.
This message was edited Nov 5, 2007 6:10 AM
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!!