Lasagna Gardening, can you start in the spring?

normathenewbie(5)February 28, 2012

My parents and I have recently built homes next to one another and have tons of land, but our soil is not the greatest. The spot where we would love to have our garden is where a lot of trees were cut down so we still have tons of stumps that would need to be removed before having a regular in ground traditional garden. I have just recently learned about "lasagna gardening" and thought it would be ideal for us and our situation. We didn't start a garden last year as we had just finished the building process and was trying to grow grass. lol. This year I decided to do raised beds and container gardens. But after learning of the Lasagna Gardens I wonder if it is too late to do it now. Can you start them in the spring or do you have to start the beds in the fall to let them cook over the winter?

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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

You can start it anytime. If you had started it last fall, it would be broken down better than if you start it in the coming May, but if you start it in May, you'll be further ahead next spring.

The main difference with starting in spring is that where you will be actually growing things, you'll have to include a mix of soil, compost and some organic fertilizer to feed what will be growing.

For instance, if you're growing tomatoes... Make your layered lasagna bed until it looks right to you. In the spots where you're putting your young tomato plants, pull the 'lasagna' apart to make a hole and pour a half-bucket (about a gallon) of your soil/compost/fertilizer mix into the hole and plant your tomato (think of it as filling a pot). Repeat for all the tomatoes.

It is difficult to plant small things in a rough, new lasagna bed, so stick with the larger, bulkier things that aren't so delicate: tomatoes, bush zucchini, pole beans, cucumbers.

Now you've got a 4x4' or 3x8' or 4x10' bed with a row of green beans growing up their trellis on the north side, some tomatoes in the middled, and some bush zucchini in front. COOL!

As the tomatoes grow, the lasagna layers will be shrinking, so watch the top of the soil/compost around the vegetables. If the levels of each become uneven (soil around tomatoes higher or lower), you'll have to add more stuff, either more lasagna mix or more soil compost. Maybe just shift a bit of the lasagna over the soil/compost. Whatever looks right -- none of it is engraved in stone.

Early on, the veggie roots will feed off the soil/compost, and then they will start branching out and feeding on the parts of the lasagna mix that are breaking down.

As the lasagna continues to shrink, you can add more stuff, keeping it to the usual estimate of 1/3 green stuff (green weeds, mowed grass, kitchen veg waste) to 2/3 brown stuff (straw/hay/seriously dry weeds).

In fall, after harvesting the crops, add more debris to the bed: leaves, the last grass mowings, weeds, chicken rakings from the coop, straw/manure from the horse or house cow.

By next spring, you'll have a GREAT bed! And you will be able to plant smaller things, like radishes, onions, lettuce, spinach, carrots.

Be preparted not to have world record harvests, but you'll get some nice, fresh, yummy stuff.

And be sure to have some fun, too!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Thank you so much for all the great information. I can't wait for spring so I can start building the garden. I will in the meantime be looking for everything that it needs. My son and I built a trellis thingy (two cages and a sapling across the top to hand baskets from) yesterday, I think a few of those will make a great addition to the garden, especially this first year when not a lot can be planted directly in the lasagna garden. And I love anything that is free and rustic, so 7 saplings, some twine and baskets I got on clearance last fall and an hours worth of work.. Vwahla! If I knew how to post pictures on here I would post a pic of the finished product. I think it came out quite well for a first try at something like that. Anywho, thanks again for the information.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:20AM
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