|Building the frame of the lasagna garden. Photo: Sharon Martin|
When my recently retired cottage neighbor introduced me to Patricia Lanza's book: "Lasagna Gardening" I was hooked!. A gardening idea perfect for the Newfoundland and Labrador terrain, especially my rocky, soiless garden that would require years of building, to reap at least a couple of feet of fertile soil.
A new layering system for bountiful gardens: no digging, no tilling, no weeding, no kidding! These words jumped out at me from the front cover. In a nutshell the philosophy of lasagna gardening is using locally available natural materials to create a layered garden much like the layers in cooking actual lasagna. The bottom layer is made of dampened newspaper or cardboard placed directly over the sod hence no digging required. Planting crops close together and mulching is part of the recipe for an abundant, healthy garden.
I filled my wheelbarrow with newspapers and proceeded to dampen them. As I was layering the newspapers over the sod of my lawn one skeptical cottage neighbor remarked: "Your potatoes are going to have headlines imprinted on their skins!"
|Collecting sea kelp. Photo: Sharon Martin|
I had spent the previous few days deciding on the layers I would use in my lasagna garden. What local materials could I use? I had two active compost bins that would yield a couple of layers. Kelp was easily accessible from a small cove only 20 minutes away I had an ample supply of wood ash and neighbors offered up grass clippings and bags of autumn leaves. Peat moss beds were also readily available just down the road and a nearby chicken farm supplied some well-rotted manure. All the materials were free and with the help of my husband the project was launched.
Layering order (Each layer was approximately 3 to 4 inches in depth)
A layer of peat moss was applied after each other layer of different material:
5.Chopped up fall leaves
7.Rotted chicken Manure
8.Ground up kelp. I used an old electric meat grinder and mixed with compost about 50/50
14.Thin layer of wood ash
When I planted the seedlings I just pushed back the layers and the seeds just needed to be covered with a fine layer of peat moss.
|The "finished" lasagna garden. Photo: Sharon Martin|
Because the peat moss retains water the whole system felt like a sponge when I gathered a handful, (not to wet and not too dry). Perfect!
The tomatoes and cucumbers, from my lasagna garden outdid my previous years' crops grown in a greenhouse. The green and yellow beans, harvested without a blemish were not only more plentiful than other years but were, crispier and more flavorful! Sunflowers planted around my other gardens dwarfed in comparison to the few in my lasagna garden. My first lasagna garden was a huge success! Plans are now underway to expand on this idea and yes the statement was absolutely true:
No digging, No tilling, No weeding, No kidding! And thanks to plenty of rain no watering!
Newfoundland with its rocky terrain and thin layer of topsoil is the perfect reason to try this method of gardening. The unlimited supply of natural layering materials enables you to grow organic crops with ease. For more information on lasagna gardening just key in lasagna gardening on Google or pick up Patricia Lanza's book: "Lasagna Gardening"
And no! You could not read my potatoes!