Friday, April 10, 2009

Lasagna Gardening

Here are the beginnings of my lasagna garden. You can see that I have added leaves and greens to my little lasagna pan. This particular pan is going to be for lettuce and other partial shade loving veggies.

Here is my recipe for a 8' X 4' pan of Lasagna! This recipe is based on what I had on hand. You can make your lasagna pan any size, and could do away with the saw if you conformed it to utilize the wood that you had on hand. Lasagna gardening is great because it is a no dig method. You layer compostable material as you would for a compost pile, and it "cooks" creating delicious fluffy light soil that is the perfect medium for growing your veggies! We use the raised bed method, building boxes to contain our lasagna. You can also just layer and build right on the ground, its up to you. You can find lots of information online about lasagna gardening. Some folks are exceptionally technical when it comes to layering their "browns" and "greens". Me? I didn't worry too much about it. I layered what I had and it resulted in the most fabulous amazing flourishing garden. So try not to worry too much, unless your a techy.. and then by all means plan, measure and mark to your hearts content!

Ingredients for building the pan:

2 8 foot 2x8 boards
2 16 foot 2x8 boards
2x4 ends and pieces for holding two levels together. (nailers)
screws or nails
skill saw
tape measure
drill or hammer


1. Cut (4) 8 foot long boards.
2. Cut (4) 3' 7" long boards.
3. Create the bottom frame by making a box using two of the long and two of the short boards.
4. Repeat process to create the top frame.
5. Then take both boxes and stack on top of one another.
6. Take nailer boards and screw them on the inside of the box at the corners and the center of the long end to hold both levels together.

Walla, you have your pan. Place the pan where you would like to have your garden. Filling instructions coming next!

Lasagna Filling Recipe:


1. Browns : Fall leaves, shredded newspaper, peat, and pine needles
2. Greens: Grass clippings, manure (chicken, rabbit, horse, goat etc. Not dog or cat), kitchen scraps (no meat or protein..fruits and veg, coffee grounds etc.
3. Flattened cardboard boxes or lots and lots of newspaper to lay on the bottom.


1. Lay the cardboard down inside of your box. Make sure that all surfaces are covered. I have my hubby lift the edges of the box so I can tuck it under, leaving no room for grass or weeds to come up. The purpose of the cardboard is to make sure that nothing underneath your bed is going to come up through your garden. Lasagna gardening is a no dig method. No tilling, no digging, and as a result, very little weeding! Lay the cardboard or thick layers of newspaper down and then water them. Give them a slight soaking.

2. Begin with browns. Throughout your garden you want to keep the ratio of browns to greens, 2 to 1. Many instructions for lasagna gardening say you must begin with several inches of peat moss. Guess what? I didn't have any. I began with leaves left over from fall. Lots and lots of leaves. After each layer, give it a gentle soaking with the hose. You don't want to drown your lasagna, but water aids the composting of all of your goodies.

3. Add greens. You can add your grass clippings, manure, kitchen scraps etc. Remember that your shooting for a 2 to 1 ration of browns to greens. Too many greens can burn your veggies so you want to add those browns to balance things out. Remember to water after each addition.

4. I like to throw in some topsoil every few layers, but its not necessary.

5. Continue layers, 2-3 inches deep (you do NOT have to be technical about this point) until you fill up your beds. The deeper your bed the better.

6. I top with a layer of topsoil, and this also is not a requirement. Some folks add a layer of straw on the top and plant into it. I like dirt : )

Cook at daytime temps for as long as possible before growing season begins. This gives the materials you added time to break down and become a yummy fluffy growing medium for the tons of veggies you are going to grow in your garden!

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