I can’t say how it came up, but it did. One May day, I made Lasagnas, but not the kind you eat. Lasagna beds. For those who don’t know what this is about, Lasagna beds gardens have been defined as:
raised bed that, just as its name suggests, is built up in layers like a tray of lasagna. The students follow a recipe of layers including several kinds of organic material like grass clippings and soil. This is a nearly foolproof place to get things to grow because the soil conditions are ideal*.
I can’t say how exactly I learned about this fairly easy way of gardening. Maybe it came from lurking in here. And then I found out when looking for alternatives to tilling and so. And also probably because I taught students about pedogenesis and had to dig into soil biology. Seems like everything was set for me to decide having a try. Probably the most pushing came out of colleagues or family being way skeptical about gardening without tilling… Till I decided I’d better have a demonstration…
We compost for others since years, so we had something like a cubic meter of ongoing compost at that time (a three month winter production, yep, we’re productive but that’s thanks to our cats and their compostable litter). What’s more, a mostly organic compost since we’re now consumming organic over 95% of family needs. Plus unused grassy space. (The land owner was nevertheless not so happy when I asked about growing a kitchen garden).
So late in March, I got to cycle wood boards from trash (hum, yeah, freegans just love scavenging your wastes, and indeed in French freeganism translates as wasteism). Nailed them in a single low bed of about4-5 inches.
Then I placed ink-free cardboard to keep weeds to grow from below lasagnas. And I alternated layers of greens (freshly cut lawn) and compost. Upto about 10 inches (I should really stay in cMs! Anyway as of today, it returned to about the state of bed size, 4 inches).
And it all started.
Interestingly, there’s both a lot and not much of lasagna beds on the intertubes. Everything is rather scarce, not fully informative. But you’ll see how incredibly efficient it is. Soon (or look at the FlickR box on your Left).
With a closer look, as soon as two weeks later, plants were already growing. This is indeed a garden method for the lazzy: not only did I not dig, till, or kid**, but I didn’t plant neither, at least at first (it all came from compost seed bank).
* Princeton Schools Garden Cooperative (2007), Garden Planning and Lesson Plans. (here)
** Patricia Lanza (1998). Lasagna gardening: a new layering system for bountiful gardens: no digging, no tilling, no weeding, no kidding! (Partly here –I’m not advertising, I did not read the whole thing).