LOL some of the butterflies like urine, too.
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!...
Making a new 'lasagna bed' for perennials?
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.
This message was edited Nov 26, 2007 2:31 PM
Are there plants in the bed? I'm curious about the heat and plant roots.
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.
Grass clippings can heat up fast. They are probably the biggest source of the heat.
I can just see the worms - wearing tropical print shorts and flip flops, what with that warmth and all!
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....
(For those who haven't checked garden watch dog, here's the link: http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/ )
I wish I had a water garden. Sounds wonderful!
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!
http://www.provenwinners.com/whatsnew/spring.cfm I just checked this link. Unfortunately when you click on "New for 2008" the 2007 plants come up! Bummer!
Monrovia and Proven Plant Winners have both posted new 2008 introductions. Montovia seems to add a few at a time. Check back on that one just case there are more later.
This message was edited Dec 2, 2007 2:07 PM
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
NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! (Fingers in ears) 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!!
Hi, gen! Welcome to DG.
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'm sure there are a lot of composters on that forum who would have tips for you. My knowledge of how the materials in your list would work in a lasagna bed is somewhat limited.
Try posting your project over there. So many knowledgeable composters/gardeners there! t.
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......:)
Paul from Alabama
I have compost that hasn't broken down all the way. Could I put the cardboard or newspapers down, that on top and grass, and then soil?
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
Lorraine, just lay it on top and let the worms do the tilling for you.
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
I just hope the boys don't find them, the little ones are already wanting to "bish" with them. Ought to have some nice tilled up dirt.!!!
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.
Thank you DiggerDee! That's what I was trying to say but I wasn't making any sense I'm sure.
Thanks, ya'll are my twins.!!! I always have some that isn't totally composted and that's what I did yesterday. Tell if this will work.
Layer of cardboard and paper, 3 Inches thick? layer of compost, layer of grass , small layer of manure and leaves on top. Or should I put the manure after or in the compost.
I won't use these beds till fall probably.
I'm sorry Tabasco, I should have done another thread I didn't mean to put so many post. !!!