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Lasagna Gardening Method - The Easy Way To Garden

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The Lasagna Gardening Method - How To Garden An Easier Way

If you are searching for an easier way to garden this year then you may want to consider the Lasagna Gardening Method.

This gardening method was designed to be easy on the back and allows you to jump right in without having to weed or till your garden plot. By the time you are through reading this article, you may be ready to toss those bigger gardening tools.

Read on as I share the easy steps for implementing the Lasagna Gardening Method and hopefully you will find as I did that it is much easier than traditional gardening.

Image courtesy of the daytondailynews.com/blogs

Garden Tools

Garden Tools

What Is Lasagna Gardening?

AKA No Dig Gardening

When I first heard about Lasagna Gardening a few years ago, I had not heard of No-Dig Gardening. Upon doing some research, I found out they are pretty much the same technique.

Both techniques of gardening have earned the reputation of being much easier and more body friendly methods. Needless to say, if you have physical limitations or are just looking for an easier way to garden, then you may want to consider using these techniques.

Patricia Lanza first made Lasagna Gardening popular with her books that are about utilizing this technique. She discovered that there is an easier method to gardening than what most consider to be traditional gardening and decided to share it with the world in her books.

When gardening in this manner, you will simply pile on a few key layers and then plant a garden. It's really that simple. With Lasagna Gardening there is no digging, no tilling, and no weeding. If you have ever cooked a lasagna to eat, then you have a good idea of the technique already.

Image courtesy of flickr.com/photos/steenbergs

Choose Your Garden Spot Wisely

Choose Your Garden Spot Wisely

Choose Your Garden Spot Wisely

Getting Started Lasagna Gardening

Placement Of Your Garden

Image above courtesy of cygnus921

When I first decided to try Lasagna Gardening, we had just moved to our new home. There were areas around the yard that looked as if they had been gardened in years past but were now sadly overgrown. I needed a way to spruce the place up quickly as well as start my herb garden.

My husband surprised me with a book by Patricia Lanza titled 'Lasagna Gardening With Herbs'. That's when my no-till gardening adventure began.

You will need to consider the placement of your garden. If you are planting herbs or vegetables, you will need several hours of sunshine for your garden to thrive. My first spot to tackle was in between and underneath some lilac bushes. Since the sun would hit the garden in the morning as well as the evening, it was a prime location.

If you will be over winter gardening, consider how different the amount of sunlight is during winter versus during the summer. Living in the Pacific NW, USA, we have drastic shifts in the slant of sunlight and much fewer hours of sun during the winter months.

During the summer months, we can still have daylight until almost 10 pm in the evening. In the winter, our daylight hours are pretty much over around 4:30 in the evening. Therefore, I have to make certain that any winter gardening I do has a prime sunny location during the colder months.

Of course, if your gardening needs are primarily for shade loving plants, then keep that in mind when setting up your prime location. I have used Lasagna Gardening for both sunny areas and shady areas of our yard and I have had wonderful results all around.

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The Wisconsin Gardener talks about Lasagna Gardening

No Dig Garden How-To

A how-to video for the no-dig garden method.

A workshop for no-dig gardening.

A lasagna garden the 2nd year.

Constructing your no-dig garden in 30 minutes.

Do It Your Way

Do It Your Way

Do It Your Way

Garden Design

Doing It Your Way

Image above courtesy of Bloomington Permaculture Guild

Now that you have figured out your garden placement in regards to how many hours of sunlight it will receive, you need to consider if you want to reinforce the edges of your garden with supports or let the edges slope.

I have found many times that the gardeners that use the Lasagna Gardening or no-dig techniques prefer to let the edges slope naturally. The primary purpose of these types of gardening is to take as much work out of the whole experience as possible. Of course, it is your garden and you get to decide exactly how you wish it to be.

Personally, I like to have my gardening projects a bit more defined. You may want to consider using items you have around your home or can get your hands on easily to repurpose. I used old fence posts to outline my beds. I knew this would help hold in the dirt and other ingredients that I would be layering on plus it gave me a good excuse to reuse some items lying about.

Some other supports you may consider using would be bricks, concrete blocks, chicken wire, wooden boards, stones, or any other sturdy items that will hold up over time.

Lasagna Gardening - by Patricia Lanza

Start With Newspaper Or Cardboard

Start With Newspaper Or Cardboard

Start With Newspaper Or Cardboard

It's All About The Layers

Getting Started Lasagna Gardening

Image courtesy of Organic Gardening

Now that you have your prime location chosen and the design of your garden in mind, it is time to talk about the layers you will be using.

The first important layer of Lasagna Gardening is what you will be using to cover and ultimately kill any grass and weeds that may already reside in your chosen garden plot. You can use either thick layers of non-shiny newspaper or sheets of cardboard. I use a mixture of both most of the time.

Throughout the year, I save our old newspapers and any cardboard boxes. During the winter months when I have a good stack, I go out, lay them around, and let the elements start to work.

When laying down your newspapers or cardboard, make sure your layers are overlapping and quite thick. With newspaper, I usually take a whole section at a time and lay it down.

Once you have every bit of ground covered and the layers are overlapped, be sure to wet it thoroughly with water before proceeding. Water helps to hold this layer in place and attracts the important worms and other creatures that will in time feed on and break this layer down. This important first layer will in turn help to fertilize your garden.

What Do You Think?

Lasagna Gardening Book

Lasagna Gardening Book

Layers And Layers

Layers And Layers

Layers And Layers

More Layers in Your Garden

Layer And Repeat

Image above courtesy of organicgardening.com

After you have a nice thick layer of newspapers or cardboard placed and dampened, you will need to alternate your layers of green and brown ingredients.

Keep in mind a general rule of thumb for using one part green ingredients (nitrogen) to four parts brown ingredients (carbon) until your garden is deep enough to plant in.

Some layers to consider alternating with when Lasagna Gardening are peat moss, compost, chopped leaves, grass clippings, composted manure, and humus. Add these layers on top of your initial bottom layer making each layer a few inches deep.

A sample of layering ingredients could be - newspaper or cardboard, 1 to 2 inches of peat moss (or other dry brown material), 2 to 4 inches of organic ingredients (green material) and repeat with 1 to 2 inches of peat moss/brown material in between layers.

When your layers are the depth you want, top off with a layer of mulch. Some suggestions are coffee grounds, chopped corncobs or corn stalks, chopped leaves, spoiled hay, pine needles, stone dust or stone grit, and straw.

Lasagna Gardening With Herbs - by Patricia Lanza

Start Planting!

Start Planting!

Start Planting!

Finishing Up

How Deep?

Image above courtesy of organicgardening.com

When you have your Lasagna layers as deep as you would like them, you are ready to start planting. You can either plant seeds into your garden or set your started plants straight into the bed.

If you are setting started plants directly into the garden, you will use a digging tool or your hands and dig down through the layers until you reach the depth desired. Do not dig through the very first bottom layer. When the plant is gently placed to the depth it needs to be, you will then ease the layers back around the plant to hold it in place.

When deciding how deep to make your Lasagna Garden bed you will need to consider how big your potted or started plants are. A plant in a four-inch pot will need to be five inches deep in the bedding. Your bed will need to be at least this deep if not deeper. You will find that it will not take many ingredients or layers to have a garden bed several inches deep.

Gardening Article Links - How-To Garden the No-Till, Lasagna Gardening, and Other Alternative Ways

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Whether you think you will be using this method or not, I would love to hear your comments about gardening or just to say HI! :)

Are you a Lasagna Gardening convert?

Shelly L Wagner from Tillamook Oregon on March 24, 2018:

I love your garden. I use this method along with a biointensive approach. The beneficial microbes and worms love the Lasagna Garden. The plants are healthier and need less nutrients then other gardening styles. The soil is so light and fluffy and easy to work.

TapIn2U on September 06, 2014:

Never heard about it. Thank you for the info! Sundae ;-)

mistyriver on May 16, 2014:

I've never heard of this before! It looks very easy.

Paula Hite from Virginia on April 09, 2014:

SO smart!! And on our Facebook page today as well!

https://www.facebook.com/GreenThumbOnSquidoo

GrammieOlivia on February 20, 2014:

Yes, I have used this method many times. It works and it's much easier than digging and turning.....thanks for a really good source of information.

OrganicGardeningPro on May 22, 2013:

what a fabulous lens... i m just amazed by the rich content.

BigRedDomino on May 10, 2013:

Very interesting concept! I may try this out in some areas of my yard while keeping my traditional garden to sink my toes into. With limited space perhaps this will help maximize the area in which I plant. Love the playing in the dirt apron. I've never bought anything through Zazzle before but when the wallet allows I'll be stopping in to make that my first purchase! And probably the t-shirt too. Creativity breeds Creativity! Thanks!

pickyshopper on March 27, 2013:

Very interesting lens; never heard of "lasagna gardening" until today! I've been looking at tillers to begin a new garden space this Spring...wish I'd heard of this kind of gardening earlier! Thanks for the great lens.

jayavi on March 10, 2013:

very interesting lens. i like gardening thanks for the information.

anonymous on March 07, 2013:

I think you persuade really well with the simple fact that it's easy on the back!

Fiorenza from UK on March 06, 2013:

Thanks for your tips on my lens. I was looking on your page and was intrigued by this one as I've never heard of lasagna gardening. I have a bad back so would definitely consider doing this, though the main problem is the back garden is dark all the time and veg won't grow.

Laurabpeterson on March 05, 2013:

Thanks! I learned a lot. I'm curious, can you directly plant seeds in this way? Or do you need to only plant seedlings or plants? Thanks!

laurenrich on February 26, 2013:

This is a great lens. Lasagna Gardening is new to me and I learn something new today. Thanks

Leila from Belgium on February 16, 2013:

And thanks for blessing!!!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 14, 2013:

Wishing you a lovely Valentines Day filled with tons of blessings starting with this one!

rattie lm on February 09, 2013:

@anonymous: I agree. I started using that metho but layering is so much better and you get to recycle so much.

rattie lm on February 09, 2013:

I am in the throes of preparing my second section of lasagna. Hoping to eliminate the neighbour's bamboo and ivy. Wish me luck.

Itaya Lightbourne (author) from Topeka, KS on January 28, 2013:

@anonymous: I personally add more compost and cardboard as needed Susan and so far my plants are doing ok. I don't use an exact science when adding the layers. I would think adding a few more layers each year would probably suffice depending on what part of the world you live in. Some would probably argue that my layering methods are perhaps a bit too easy going. I just feel that if it works for your plants, then it is just fine. :)

Fox Music on January 28, 2013:

Very Interesting Lens "Lasagna Gardening Method - The Easy Way To Garden"

anonymous on January 26, 2013:

I've been doing raised-bed Square Foot Gardening for a few years, but think the Lasagna method would be a great way to expand my growing area, without as much work! My question is once the beds are built and planted, what needs to be done to maintain them? I'm assuming you don't need to rebuild the beds to 24" deep every fall?

Thanks for the assistance!

Itaya Lightbourne (author) from Topeka, KS on January 24, 2013:

@TonyPayne: I'd say the matured compost and leaves would be fantastic to get a Lasagna Garden going for you!

Rose Jones on January 24, 2013:

I'm on to this! Great lens - blessed.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on January 24, 2013:

This sounds really good. I had to lose a lot of our topsoil last year sadly as I needed to fill in the area under our new deck in a hurry, so 2 years of hard work digging over the beds was lost, now they are back to clay and stones, albeit lower than they were and free of most of the old weeds etc. We have a 2 year old matured compost bin, plus black bin bags full of leaves from the last 2 years, so this ought to make a good basis for the beds this year and beyond.

Johanna Eisler on January 22, 2013:

Fascinating! I'm looking forward to trying this!

DebMartin on January 20, 2013:

Never heard of this interesting method. Although it makes great sense.

nanafisher on January 19, 2013:

I am going to try this method in my 50 plus year old flower beds. They are in needof a back fill and this may just be the answer for that.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 18, 2013:

Never heard of this type of gardening. But very interested in trying it. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 18, 2013:

Like the title. Drew me in.

boutiqueshops on January 18, 2013:

I've used lasagna gardening for years and I love it. Makes me feel good to recycle cardboard and newspaper and let grass clippings, chopped leaves and other stuff go "back to the earth." Great article!

getmoreinfo on January 18, 2013:

I like these Lasagna Gardening Method

CottageHomestead on January 18, 2013:

We love lasagna gardening, in fact it is the only way I have gardened the last few years and I started because we didn't have a tiller. Wonderful lens!

lionmom100 on December 26, 2012:

I just put in raised beds and plan on starting this in the spring. Can't wait.

srsddn lm on December 25, 2012:

Sounds great. Worth trying.

jvcronje on December 14, 2012:

Very well-written lens. People tend to forget how important the carbon component is, so I agree with your suggestion of 80%, vs 20% for the nitrogen component.

anonymous on November 19, 2012:

Just stopped by again for the fun of it.

Makes me think spring! :)

soaringsis on August 14, 2012:

Thanks for sharing. I would like to try this method. Great instructions.

anonymous on August 10, 2012:

I had never heard of this before, but it makes perfect sense. I will probably give it a try.

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on July 29, 2012:

I had never heard of it being called Lasagna Gardening until now but this is how we have planted our garden for a few years now. It is much easier on the back and we have had good results. Blessings**

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on July 21, 2012:

This is a wonderful idea and extremely well written. Thank you for introducing me to lasagna gardening! Blessed!

BarbaraCasey on July 16, 2012:

I love learning new stuff. Great info for my (future) garden!

Gayle Dowell from Kansas on July 16, 2012:

Always looking for better ways to garden! Love this idea! Can hardly wait for next spring so I can try this!

KimGiancaterino on July 12, 2012:

I started doing this many years ago when I converted our front lawn to a lush garden. Back then I didn't know there was a name for it. I've just finished placing lots of large cardboard pieces, and we'll be getting several truckloads of mulch to cover things up. We save on water and the house stays about 10 degrees cooler in the summer.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on July 12, 2012:

Hi I love this, I live in Alabama where the soil is red clay and very hard. I always do a no dig garden with new paper or cardboard as the first layer. Blessed by Squid Angel flinnie and added to my lens Squid Angel flinnie.

peggygallyot on June 21, 2012:

I love gardening but don't have the space

Chuck Nelson from California on June 12, 2012:

I was intrigued by the title and now intrigued by the concept...hadn't heard of it before. My wife has always been the gardener but she is no longer able to garden so my gardening is just maintenance of what already exists. The time is coming when I won't have time for this. Very nice article and well written.

GOT LM on June 07, 2012:

Oh.. looks like lots of work!

bohica96 on June 06, 2012:

A seriously fun article. Thanks.

PeacefieldFarm LM on June 04, 2012:

I love gardening and I really enjoyed your lens. I do my own version of lasagne gardening.

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on May 31, 2012:

My son has been telling me for a few years that I should garden this way. Thanks for the instructions.

Marilyn Thompson from Washington State on May 22, 2012:

Great lens, I had never herd of Lasagne Gardening

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on May 22, 2012:

I've left you a blessing for memo day! This is such a wonderful lens. You really covered the topic well. Thanks!

Millionairemomma on May 21, 2012:

This method looks great. It has a cool name to it. Lasagna.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 19, 2012:

I love to garden but because I cannot bend well it really does put a large strain on my back and legs. Which of course means that raised garden beds are a definite in my future plans if I want to continue gardening. I like your lasagna gardening because it basically comes under the same structure.

anonymous on May 16, 2012:

We used this method last year in our move to a new house.To start all the gardens we layed down cardboard,added 1 foot of wood chips,1 foot of horse manure well composted,1 foot of leaf mold.We then placed 1 small pail of composted dirt where ever we planted a plant or potato.We had very good results with the potato's ,radishes,flowers,peas and tomato's.

this year we added on top of last years layers fresh leaf mold,composted dirt,and then planted potato,s,corn,beans and more radishes.

My radishes (black spanish )got as big as soft balls!!! The potato's are beautiful ,we are just harvesting the first crops now(we are zone 9).

We will continue to lasagna garden for sure!!!!!

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on May 16, 2012:

It's exciting to learn there is another better way to garden than the same-o same-o. :)

Auntie-M LM on April 27, 2012:

What a wonderful way to approach gardening!

Kathryn Wallace from Greenbank, WA, USA on April 19, 2012:

*High Five* I made one bed this way once, in my 1/3 acre garden. The next year when my partner tilled the whole garden with his tractor, he said this bed was by far the richest soil of the entire garden. This bed was a "first year" bed and the rest of the garden was 5 years old. Nice, eh?!

belinda342 on April 17, 2012:

I haven't gardened in years because of the hassle of borrowing a tiller. I may have to give this a try. Thank you!

julieannbrady on April 16, 2012:

Well, I am seriously giving this some thought ... I've got a patch of yard in the back that is pretty barren ... the grass won't grow there and it is quite sandy.

DuncanBoud on April 14, 2012:

Thanks for introducing me to this, and the step-by-step approach is very useful. I'll have to give it a try!

jed78 on April 13, 2012:

I've never tried this method, maybe i'll give it a shot this year!

Perrin from South Carolina on April 10, 2012:

Yes, we love ours. Veggies and Fruits . . . we used wood to wall it in.

Itaya Lightbourne (author) from Topeka, KS on April 09, 2012:

@anonymous: Very good point Suzette! The ones I use were more like rustic posts. Don't think mine had creosote on them. I also put them to the edge and away from the dirt in my garden. One should not use anything they feel has creosote on it when framing out a bed that food will be grown in.

Scraps2treasures on April 09, 2012:

I have used this method for the past couple of years. I love how rich the soil is using lasagna gardening.

anonymous on March 26, 2012:

Don't railroad ties excrete creosote which is poisonous?

http://www.integrico.com/index.php?option=com_cont...

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on March 17, 2012:

Great information - I can hardly wait to give Lasagna Gardening a try. ~blessed

jballs6 on March 17, 2012:

Great informative lens. I did this last winter and my soil structure has improved immensely.I am hope for another bumper crop this season!

JoshK47 on March 16, 2012:

Darn, I thought this was going to be a guide on how to grow lasagna in your backyard! Just kidding, awesome stuff! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

homesteadinglif on March 15, 2012:

This is a great idea. I have tried to do this on a small scale in some areas of my garden. Trying to be more organized this year

Fantastic Voyages from Texas on March 14, 2012:

I have never heard of this gardening method, but it sounds as if it will work! I might try it in a small corner of my garden this year, and compare it to my usual methods. Thanks for the info!

Jules Corriere from Jonesborough TN on March 13, 2012:

What an interesting way to garden. I've never heard of gardening this way before. I'm about to move into a new home, and would love to have an herb garden, but the ground is quite hard. I read your step-by-step, word for word, and I think I could actually try this. Awesome Lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 10, 2012:

Absolutely! I was a convert the minute I read about lasagna gardening. It works and it makes so much sense. I appreciate the awareness you are raising with your excellent gardening, composting, and other articles related to green living. Very nicely done!

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on March 10, 2012:

I had a wonderful garden years ago where I used mulch and loaded in my kitchen vegetable type garbage right under the layers of mulch in-between the plants and it was so rich. We had years of wonderful vegetables. I like this idea too. but I live in the city for now. Sigh. I miss my garden! But you have made me happy just thinking about it.

suzy-t on March 07, 2012:

No digging ?! I'm liking that ! Great lens...

GreenMind Guides from USA on March 06, 2012:

Very cool idea -- It's time to start planning the garden beds!

anonymous on March 06, 2012:

Very interesting ideas you have on this lens. Thanks!

SophiaStar LM on March 06, 2012:

This was quite fascinating I have never heard of lasagna gardening before! I love it and will have to try it!

anonymous on March 06, 2012:

I love reading your articles as I always learn something new. I had never heard of gardening this way but what a great idea

Einar A on March 05, 2012:

I've grown potatoes this way, in hay or straw, but never anything else. Interesting ideas.

Mary Stuart on March 05, 2012:

This is the first time I have ever heard of lasagna gardening. What a clever idea! I like how it saves on physical labor, especially the way it enables you to skip having to weed (which is a real pain!). Very interesting lens!

Sara Duggan from California on March 05, 2012:

Super cool technique. When I first saw the title I was thinking a garden with lasagna ingredients LOL - tomatoes, garlic, etc. This is actually something to consider because I have a bad back.

flicker lm on March 05, 2012:

Nicely done! I've never done Lasagna Gardening. I do layer leaves and composted manure on my beds in the fall, as well as other organic material. However, I do dig them into the soil somewhat.

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