Anyone try Lasagna Gardening?

Fireraven9(z5ManzanitaMtNM)November 26, 2002

Has anyone tried Lasagna Gardening for outdoor beds? I have some slightly raised garden beds for vegetables that I layer and do not till, but no flower beds done that way.

I was thinking that it might help in places where the soil is too hard to dig. Ours (clay sand mix) is so hard we have to dig a tiny hole and pour water in it and let it soak in to make the soil soft enough to dig out. That has to be repeated several times to get a hole big enough to plant in. I cannot do this any longer. It must be done for trees, shrubs and bulbs, but maybe other plants (mostly herbs and vegetables and maybe a few perennials) can be grown this way. I wonder if I can combine swales to catch the water with Lasagna beds on the uphill side for easy planting.

I can see that it would be easy and workable in a damp location, but I am wondering about the dryer parts of the country/world and does the Lasagna bed dry out too fast and require more water than planting directly in the clay/sand soil?

Lee AKA Fireraven9

"Constant Vigilance!" Mad Eye Moody

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We have heavy clay soil compacted from layers of rocks. After laboriously removing the gravel (previous owners' idea of landscaping), the soil beneath was incredibly hard. A shovel just bounced off it. I started by watering the area well, covered it with a thick layer of newspapers, then covered it with a thick layer of manure. After that, you can add layers of grass clippings, compost, leaves, whatever. If you add lots of uncomposted material, it would probably be best to wait a few months before planting, but I didn't want to wait and planted immediately after the bed was finished. I didn't have any problems with anything I planted (roses, mums, pansies, strawberries, etc.). A month or two after planting, I wanted to add another rose to the bed and needed to move some pansies. As I slipped my trowel under the pansy, I was delighted to have scooped up three earthworms in my trowel. It was amazing to me that the worms had discovered my bed and had been able to work through the hard clay and up through all the amendments. My lasagna bed is the healthiest, best planting bed in my garden. Building on that success, I have built another lasagna bed and planted hundreds of bulbs. I will have to wait until spring to see if it is successful, but I never want to dig bulbs in a regular bed again. The lasagna bed is so soft, no real effort is needed to "dig" six inches down. Hopefully, the raw leaves and grass won't be too hot composting down, and my bulbs will bloom beautifully next spring.

As for the moisture factor, you could incorporate materials known to retain water (peat is a suggestion although not an environmentally friendly one) into your lasagna bed. Actually, my lasagna bed doesn't seem to require extra water and may actually require less water as it contains no rocks or tree roots.

The biggest effort in building a lasagna bed is creating the raised bed. I have used the interlocking building stones, and my husband and son have placed them for me. The actual amendments for the bed may be added over a longer period of time as you have strength or available materials. My bulb bed I planted at the shallow range of each bulb's requirements as I know my bed will settle over the winter as I used many raw components. Next spring, I will add a couple more inches of compost and things should be just about right then.

I have been so pleased with the results that all future beds will be lasagna beds. I don't till the bottom of the bed, and the earthworms find the new bed just the same--even when there have been no earthworms to be found in that spot before the lasagna bed.

With hard clay soil and limited physical strength, lasagna gardening makes sense.

Applewood Annie

    Bookmark   November 27, 2002 at 9:43PM
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when you do the layering for a lasagna bed, is it ok to walk on it or is it supposed to be narrow enough to reach around and over it, like for raised beds? I'm guessing maple leaves that have fallen, are considered one layer? My yard is mostly dirt and gravel. It used to be a quary in days gone by. Now it's turned into residential housing. The drainage is not a problem at all but it seems the rocks multiply as if I had planted them. They are never ending and push up from below. I sure don't have a problem with moles underneath, but the raccoons are a constant bother from above ground, this year. Sorta got away from my it ok to be walking around on the amended soil of lasagna gardening?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2002 at 12:34AM
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I would have some problem getting the ingredients for the layered beds since we do not rake leaves (we have mostly conifers), but we use straw (used by chickens) and kitchen compost. Nothing is wasted, but there is not enough to do large areas. The soil in the beds we have is wonderful and full of worms. Any new beds will need a drip watering system put in (by DH) and I am thinking I will try lasagna beds placed behind swales to help retain water. I will tell how it went in a year or so.

The soil in the meadow is the hard DRY clay and it is fine for growing native plants that require little care. I like to grow those from seed so that I do not have to mess with amending the soil at all. Growing anything in the mountain SW is a challenge, but even with increasing mobility problems it is getting better since I learn more about the plants suited to this area every year.

Lee AKA Fireraven9
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads.
The wind is passing by.
- Christina Rossetti

Here is a link that might be useful: Lazagna Beds

    Bookmark   November 28, 2002 at 1:00PM
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Good information to know. Gotta go to the kids' house for this holiday, so I printed the link about layering, from your post, to read while I'm there.Also, there's a huge worm farm in Yelm, about 25 miles from me, that's on the web under a search for worm farms. I can't think of the name at the moment. I got a couple of worm bins from the county extention office to begin the propagation of red wigglers. Seems like a lot of people in this area do the vermicomposting. I guess the weather conditions are agreeable. One lady I know has her garage completely full of wooden crates built to raise them. It's a rich earthy smell in there. She plans to be selling them in a few months. Oh, 'nuther mention, just glancing through the link you provided, I may take it to the school around the corner & see what the staff has to say about trying it in the spring. Thanks, I wouldn't have known about that link.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2002 at 2:58PM
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In New Zealand we call this a no-dig garden. I have done this with 2 garden beds.They are the best growing flower beds I have, I have put mainly annuals in these and after only 2 months everything is thriving. But it is also a big help I grow all of my seedlings myself. These seem to be healthier than bought ones. Could someone tell me where the name Lasagna gardening came from??
Thanks Catherine

    Bookmark   February 2, 2003 at 5:39AM
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The beds are built in alternating layers of varius materials as described above, the method being compared to the preparation of the food, Lasangna, which is made of alternating layers of lasangna noodles, meats, cheeses, vegetables, sauces. The layers of organic materials used to build the lasanga gardens gradually decomposes and becomes good gardening soil and in time the level of the soil will decrease. The higher the garden the better the drainage and eventual depth of the beneficial soil.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2003 at 8:04PM
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I'm confused! I read the link, but it says "the system requires no
bordering rocks or boards." So what keeps it all from sliding into
the rest of the yard? I can see how it would work in a raised bed,
but having all that stuff stacked without support is hard to imagine.
Also, how many layers do you have to make? And how deep is each

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 7:28PM
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palyne(Zone 6a NE OK)

Maybe you should buy the book that outlines it.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2003 at 2:59PM
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vmperkins(z5 central IL)

Pat Lanza, the author of the book Lasagna Gardening, often piles it all in place, not worrying whether the bed is not completely squared. She makes mounds rather than traditional beds. She will sometimes plant the sloping sides with creepers or small plants in order to define the bed. When everything settles, it simply becomes a small mound.

But you can edge if you want. It depends on what is easier for you--Lanza is not specifically gearing her method toward people with special challenges, though it is adaptable to various needs.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2003 at 7:16PM
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billzebub(7 NC)

I tried to root a Lasagna noodle once, but after a few weeks in water it was all rotten and smelled funny. Am unable to find pasta seeds. please help.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2003 at 5:17PM
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morganwolf(z10 FL USA)

billzebub: pasta seeds are marketed as "orzo". Low viability though. Greatly improved by boiling several minutes, tossing with butter or olive oil and locatelli pecorino romano cheese. Novice gardeners often use parmesan; I believe using the sheep's milk cheese increases absorption. OR at least consumption.


But seriously, I always edge my lasagna beds because down here the pernicious lawn grass attacks.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2003 at 5:57AM
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jaredandkristi(z4 MT)

I started my first Lasagna Garden last year. I love it! I put all vegetables in it. It has become the talk of the town. Everyone asks me what the heck is in my yard. They don't laugh when I tell them what I was able to harvest from that tiny spot and that I didn't have to pull a single weed all summer! I have a 9x10 area with a 2 foot walkway in the middle. I put a chicken wire fence around it to keep critters out and to keep the piles symmetrical. The great thing about Lasagna gardening is that even a novice can't mess it up. There are no exact measurements and as the years go by, it only gets easier and better.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2004 at 11:43AM
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Someone asked a while ago if it's OK to walk on a lasagna bed, or if it's best to make it narrow enough that you don't need to do so. I don't think she got any responses. I have the same question. If the bed is so soft, don't you sink into it and compress it badly if you step on it? I'll appreciate hearing your experience.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 10:32PM
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marie99(z8 SC)

I walk on mine if I have to. I try to keep it to a minimum because it can be quishy and I have very bad knees. I don't worry about what it does to the bed and there's no easy way to check because I got sheets from yard sales for $2 and cut them to go over the top of the beds and make holes for the plants. Then I use landscape staples to hold them down. The majority of mine is leaves other people bagged and left on the curb, and kitchen scraps. In the fall, I'm going to remove the shets and and more compost. When the sheets are rotten I'll just pick up more. Because of my knees, I am changing the way I garden.

I told my doctor I couldn't garden anymore, and she told me about you all. And to get over my self pity because I'm not so bad off. I quit feeling sorry for myself pretty fast.

I just dug 2 four foot deep holes sitting and laying on the ground to plant pecan trees because I've always wanted them. I used a lot of water to make the ground mushy and I was dipped in mud before I was finished but it was fun. I must remember to tell her that.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 9:20PM
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BamaCottage(z7 Alabama)

I have been doing this for years. It is the absolute best gardening method out there.

If you are going to try it I recommend getting the book. It is more than worth the price.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 10:17PM
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cyngbeld(milam co,TX)

Started doing this years before the book came out. You don't really have to follow a recipe. I just use what ever materials are handy where I am living and pile it up at least 10 to 12 inches deep. Some things, like sawdust can take a lot of water to get damp but then they will hold the moisture. This method cuts way down on overall water use. You hardly have any weeds. You can plant in it immediately and it doesn't hurt it any to walk on it. I have used it in the Colorado desert on hard, alkaline clay with 3 inches annual rainfall and had wonderful gardens. Works equally well with bulbs and flowers. Even the rocks will quit working their way out of the ground. After you have the mulch in place a few weeks you will probably have worms. No need to add them. I don't get down on my knees much anymore, but if you need to, you won't need knee pads, just kneel on the mulch. I have put down newspaper as a first layer to help smother weeds and then put mulch on top. If you do this, water the area first then put down wet paper then your other mulch.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2004 at 9:25AM
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Okay this is just my opinion based on my experience in Zone one. It won't smother things like dandelion or Canada thistle and you can't dig them out because of all the layers. It is NOT less work than digging because you have to haul in a tonne of soil ammendments. I don't have a wheeel barrow so maybe it is just me. It took two years for everything to break down and it was kind of a pain.

I put in broken sidewalk blocks to step on.

NOW - I had compacted, nothing ever planted before in it, hard as a rock CLAY and now I have very lovely soil. I believe that Pat Lanza hauls all the stuff away and builds it all again the next year - that is TOO much work for me. I also live in drought area and it really does cut down on amount of water that you need. Clay holds the water, but it is compacted and the surface dries out.

Oh and the worms DO love it :-) Use what you have and don't buy more than you have to.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 2:30PM
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I did this over a soil full of gravel and clay. It really works. I used a border. It is the way I extended one of my beds. The nice thing is no digging. The worms do the work.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 1:49AM
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i can't wait to get started this fall! Once my hardscaping is complete, i will end up with a yard that is noting but sub-soil (landfill).

I'd like guidance on a few things:
1. is lasagna gardening suitable for me i.e. to begin on top of sub-soil?
2. do the layers have to be "rebuild" every year?
3. will it save some cost and time of buying and haulign in ALL top soil.
4. can my entire garden be a lasagna garden? i.e. not just a bed that has to be bordered.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 9:43AM
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heatherisnotaweed(WA Z8)

In answer to the question about whether or not you have to rebuild a lasagna bed each year, the annswer is NO! That would actually defeat the purpose, which is to reat easy beds requiring little maintenance. As the materials in the bed decompose, you add more materials on top,just continuing the layers. This keeps you adding organic materials to decompose each year, usually in fall, when leaves are plentiful. You can be always mulching with grass clippings, too. I just read the book, and Lanza did move all her beds at one point, but only when the Inn she was running was sold. Once the bed is there, you can leave it forever.

Also, if you make your beds the right dimensions, you shouldnt have to walk on them. That compacts the soil which is undesirable. Just make beds no wider than 5ft so you can reach the middle from either side, or else install some paths right at the start.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 4:25PM
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jenn_of_ark(6 AR)

I got free cardboard boxes from Walmart and have laid them down with only rocks on top for now. This will kill the grass and worms come up from underneath and soften the ground under the cardboard. I believe in this method!! especially 'cause we don't have a tractor or a tiller. Last year I put down old hay on top of cardboard and that worked wonderfully; the cardboard itself kills the underlying grass and weeds, and the worms DO come up from underneath and "till" the soil for you. Only problem is what I call "witch grass," which grows across ANYTHING; best thing to do with this is pull it out 'cause the roots aren't strong enough to sink through cardboard in one season; or put more cardboard on top of it next season. If you have to, BUY dirt to put on top of the cardboard; throw grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, on top; this adds up to: underlying dirt all softened up ready for planting in, plus cardboard on top to hold in water, plus WHATEVER you have managed to come up with to put on top; all of which is much better than plain rock-hard dirt.

I think the lasagna gardens above swales is probably the best idea for conserving water; how much rainfall do you get?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 2:17PM
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gurley157fs(zone 7/8sc)

There are so many responses AND apparently so much controversy out there about Lasagna gardening that I will limit my response to this:
I don't dig, I rarely weed, and everything I plant grows. If anyone would like any specific advice on Lasagna gardening feel free to e-mail me and I will try to answer your question. I can't imagine gardening any other way.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 9:17PM
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I started my lasagna garden experience late last summer after having killed myself digging two feet rows for my spring garden which was mainly for tomatoes and beans. I ended up with five "rows" each about twenty feet long. I used bamboo canes my neighbor gave me to construct row cages all the length of each row to tie the tomatoes and give the climbing beans a trellis. It worked great, but was way too much work for someone as lazy as me. Needless to say, we canned lots of tomatoes and beans.

Then, I happened on to this area of GW and since I had always been involved in composting in some way, I realized I had the resources and network to try the lasagna. Starting late last summer, I put two and three layers of thick cardboard between each of my existing rows and on the outside perimeter. I also put a few rows outside another area I had planted corn in that the squirrels had eaten the entire crop from.

I networked with a few locals who readily agreed to give me their bagged leaves and another who had square bales of wheat straw that had been ruined by rain but were still perfectly ok to layer onto my beds. A week or two after that, I ran into a local guy who was in the tree trimming business who brought about ten yards of chipped oak trimmings and piled them in an area I could easily wheelbarrow them to my raised beds.

I shanghaied a couple of youngsters who stopped by to see what I was up to, (ones who owed me big for computer work and tutoring I had given them for free) and put them to work and within two hours we had spread all the oak chips.

Since then, I have taken all kitchen scraps and used coffee WITH the paper filters and buried them each week, plus leaves from neighbors several times. I hooked up with the guy who services our work coffee dispenser and get thirty to forty pounds of grounds from him each week now for the last few months which goes directly to the heap. I have built up to a good eight to ten inches of material as it has settled.

I started planting it the second week of February with my first tomato plants, four to be exact. They are now starting to bloom. As the time has went on, I have added tomatoes each week for a total of twenty five plants of three different varieties, pole beans on the outside edge of the cages I built last year, dill seeds, garlic and onion sets. Last week, I sowed handfuls of okra seeds all over it. I noticed the first of the beans and okra sprouting yesterday; we had a good solid rain the previous day that moistened the seeds enough to sprout them. The little seedlings look strong.

In conclusion, I have yet to harvest anything from all the doing, but it sure has been fun and I am way excited over the prospect of a bountiful harvest. I still have lots of other seeds to plant and have started another bed yesterday; in between a tall tee pee style trellis I grew my gourds on last year. I measures roughly ten by twelve feet. I had fourteen huge bags of live oak leaves to spread out, they ended up being about ten inches deep, but I realized they will settle. I don't care if that bed takes more time, I know the amount of hard digging it has saved me and dumping out bags of grass clippings and chipped, ground wood shavings beats the digging any day.

Eventually, I plan to have lasagna over that entire property, with just walk paths all around to get around.

Wish me luck, k?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 7:56AM
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Yes, I did this last year. I already have "surprises" like daffodils, grape ivy, tulips, all popping up in my beautiful rich soil I have. I also re-planted 25 strawberry plants this year. Like other lasanga gardeners, I want mostly gardens" lasanga gardens'I wants lots of plants, flowers, and veggies, than grass and weeds. Happy Lasanga gardening, Like Gram would say, muncha, muncha. try it - you'll like it! craftylady_MA.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 11:43PM
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thebordercollie(5a Chicago)

I just bought the book by Pat Lanza and want to start building a bed now. I am going to plant three rosebushes in it. But I have a question- since the bed reduces in height over time(like from 3ft tall to 6 inches tall), what will happen to the roses I put in? Won't they sink???

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 6:08PM
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lashawn87(z4 IA)

I'm going to try to put in some lasagna beds this fall and found a great way to get the materials. I went on for my area and asked for newspapers. A lady had just moved to a new house and the old owners had delivered papers. This lady's garage was FULL of bundles of newspapers--perfect for me because I live on 6 acres so I have a lot to work with. I packed my trunk and car full of the bundles and now that it's fall I just need to get my hands on leaves and grass.

If anyone has ideas of how to get other materials, I'd appreciate it. I did see mentions of going to the grocery store and asking for rotten produce, and going to places like Starbucks to get grounds.
Any other tips would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 10:23PM
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i do believe i got the zone right i am in michigan and i was wondering if anyone could tell me how to satrt a lasagna garden for both vegetables and flowers.please email me and let me know my email address is is here and i would like to start doing some gardening so anyone who can give me a heads up on how to start a lasagna garden i would really appreciate it.i have fairly good dirt i just got dirt a year and a half ago and its pretty good.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 9:44AM
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yes we have and we love it!! 6 years now and no rototilling the hard clay!!
barn litter/dirt in the spring then clippings and compost thru out the summer and a bed of leaves/straw in the fall.

We have a short growing season here and this method has proven to extend our season considerably!

don't have access to newspapers??? Card board boxes flattened out works very well, don't have access to leaves or grass clippings??? straw and hay work.

We are fortunate enough to live in an area where our neighbots are quite happy to pass along their barn litter and grass clippings to us. in return we share the fruits of our "labour"!!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 2:11PM
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I did it last fall for the first time to extend a flowerbed into the lawn. Nasty hard rocky clay soil so I wasn't about to attempt to double dig. I would truly need a backhoe.

I have the book, but I didn't follow her directions. I put down a layer of newspaper (saved the throwaways I got each week, I don't even suscribe), six layers thick in the shape that I wanted over the live grass. I had a bunch of leftover bags of mulch that I threw over it, about three inches thick.

Left it over the winter, and every so often would fling coffee grounds, a 40 pound bag of alfalfa pellets, leaves, whatever was handy or around at the time. I suppose that if I was really into it, I could've used my kitchen waste and tucked it under areas of mulch, but I was too lazy.

Come spring, I had no grass peaking through. I added about 40 pounds of compost (the cheap buck a bag stuff from Walmart or Lowes), more alfalfa pellets (less than 10 bucks from a feed store) and planted. All of those silly ornamental pears drop and rot and I leave them where they fall.

Just recently, mulched the entire area because our summers here are mighty darn hot.

Everything is growing and happy. I have earthworms. No, it's not all broken down underneath, but it doesn't matter, the plants are still thriving. Only thing that I have to do to the area is edge. Whoopee. Compared to double digging, that's a piece of cake.

Barring suddenly having the money to hire a landscaper, I cannot imagine doing anything but this sort of thing. I've dug ONE hole in the clay on this property this spring, and that was only because I didn't want to wait for the process to plant something.

But if I wanted to do a bed from scratch? Oh honey, trust me, this is the way to go. And it doesn't look or smell bad. My neighbor across the street that picks up every stray leaf off of his lawn, who would be sure to comment if what I did was unattractive or offensive, merely shouted "looking good" while I was planting this spring.

...hee...hee...And this was a guy that spent THREE DAYS digging a single small hole in his lawn trying to plant something last year.

I may be a newbie to this area, but I'm committed to working smarter, not harder. Raised lasagne beds, gotta love it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 5:31PM
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This may have been addressed somewhere else, but...

I have access to tons of shredded paper - not newspaper - just regular computer paper.

Can this be used instead of newspaper? I done newspaper and it is wonderful what it does for soil. But what about regular paper from a shredder?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 12:27PM
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Has anyone tried lasagna gardening around existing trees and shrubs? Our backyard has mature oak, ash, and hickoy trees that soak up all of the water from the red clay soil. I have attempted to plant some shrubs and would like to add additional plants but need to deal with the poor soil and lack of moisture issues. However, I don't want to smother my mature trees. Anyone have any insight about whether this technique will work for my situation?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 6:26PM
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How long after you lay down the cardboard and start adding stuff on top, does it take for a bed to be ready to use? I am in the Houston Texas area and if anyone reading this has used this method please contact me I have a few local questions. Thank you. Cj

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 2:36PM
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tufaleaf.....did you end up using that shredded computer paper?.i am curious because i too have a barrel full of it and was wondering how it worked out 4 you

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:00AM
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I'm trying my first lasagne garden now...
I started a couple of weeks ago. I used cardboard boxes that furniture came in (from IKEA).

I noticed one weed poking through cardboard and a few inches of things I've built up so far. Should I put more cardboard down?

possible places to try and get material for lasagne gardening:

-asking businesses who cut lawns, trim trees, etc...
-a local townhouse complex has a twice annual gardening day when they trim everything, good to get a few bags of stuff.

-grocery store produce gone bad or a local veg market

-calling all farmers locally to see if they'd deliver or let you pick up spent hay or straw (not to mention manure)

-asking family members or friends when they trim hedges

-shredded computer paper from the office
(which works great if shredded, don't use glossy newspaper or glossy office paper)

-used cardboard boxes from furniture stores, appliance stores or computer stores (ask behind the store in the unloading area)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 3:32PM
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Help I know I am late getting my bulbs dug in, but I am dealing with mostly clay that has distroyed trowels. I was wondering if after I get these bulbs dug in can I start the lasagna method and will my bulbs come up through the newspaper? I tilled these large beds and added lots and lots of compost but it seems it did absolutly nothing to the composition of this stuff, I am new to the area and am used to california gardening not carolina clay. HELP!!!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 9:02AM
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Hi All,

Wish I'd read all this sooner so I could get some beds ready before the winter. I am eager to try it! :-)

Quick question:

In the front yard I have a short pine fence...then about 12 inches of grass that merges into a drainage ditch. (Really the entire ditch is about 3-4 feet across).

I would love to do a little bed to soften the fence.
And, given our hard clay, would love a lasagna!

Can anyone recommend how to keep all the 8-10 inches of newspaper, peat, mulch, etc from toppling over into the drainage area? Stones won't work, I suppose.



    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 1:17PM
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I recently started a lasagna garden. I put down newspapers, peat moss, bagged compost & manure from Lowes, bagged mushroom compost from Lowes, used tea bags and vegetable kitchen scraps, leaves and top soil.

It has been covered with a vinyl cover for about a month. When I lifted the cover to add some more tea bags I saw a field mouse or vole right on the top of the soil. The cold weather seems to keep the vegetable scraps from decomposing and I think that is what the critter was after. Did I do the wrong thing by adding the kitchen scraps? Has anyone else had this problem?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 7:41PM
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Maybe the mouse was using the vinyl-covered compost heap more as shelter than a food source?

Everyone says kitchen veggie scraps are great for compost. I plan to throw all the rotting stuff in my fridge into the garden this weekend...

I'm also trying a lasagna garden for the first time. This is only my second attempt at gardening, ever, so I really don't know what I'm doing... and I'm a perfectionist so I probably will fret too much about it, too.

Last weekend I found the flattest part of the yard that got full sun and marked out at 4 foot by 8 foot plot. This weekend I'm collecting and assembling the green and brown layers. My intention is to then cover the pile with black plastic garbage bags to "cook" for six weeks. Hopefully by mid-April it will be ready to plant in. Am I doing it right? I did buy Lanza's book, but I'm still not sure I'm not making a mistake somewhere.

I'll also use those six weeks to decide what to plant and how to keep the deer from eating them.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 1:26PM
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Anyone who thinks they don't have access to something just needs to use and request it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 9:16PM
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Over the past 7 years I have created a number of lasagna or as I call them no-dig gardens. I have similar plans for a lot next to my house.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:04PM
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I have been lurking on Gardenweb for about 6 years now and I just have to add a comment here because I just made a big, no magor, no...huge big deal MISTAKE in my new lasagna beds. Please, learn from me! I read so many wonderful suggestions for layers. I ended up using a bit of this and a bit of that, like most folks. The straw sounded nice and when I spread it around in thick layers (one bale goes a long long way at about 3 inches thick) I thought it was a genius to do my layers so economically. I was ready to kiss all those that have suggested using straw. Now, however I am completely overwhelmed at the extra work that straw has created for me because I (completely ignorant of clean straw vs. straw that has not yet been cleaned of it's viable seed-heads) put down about a trillion seeds. This stuff is amazon grass and is choking out everything, has a fibrous root system that is tangling inside the straw layer and not coming out when I pull it. I read somebody else's garden mistake in a stupid gardening mistake thread and they said the straw was easy to pull...maybe when it's not a thick layer. So, please...make sure your straw is clean. I thought straw was sterile or something so I didn't fret when I saw seed heads in mine. Take it from me...not all straw is created equally. I will be pulling this stuff out all year. What a nightmare.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:59PM
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Can I use grass clippings in my lasagna garden than came from a fertilized lawn, and has possibly been chemically treated for weeds?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I wanted to bump this back up and draw attention to imablueridgegirl's question about doing this around existing trees/shrubs. I have a silver maple and 2 evergreen conifers (nothing special) that I'd like to tie together with a flower bed (probably about 30' long and 10' wide).
I want to establish the lasagna bed in the fall (this weekend, hopefully) so I can plant in it come spring.
will I hurt the trees if I lay down newspaper/leaves/grass clippings and a small amount of kitchen scraps?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:12PM
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I did a sort of amended lasagna garden under a mature pink dogwood. I was very worried about smothering the roots, so I only built up about 2" of newspaper and compost and planted a shallow-rooted groundcover (sweet woodruff). Farther away from the tree I built up a more traditional lasagna garden, just not all the way around it. Maybe I was being too conservative, but I would hate myself if I killed that tree. I think even a small amount of newspaper and compost would encourage the worms and help improve the soil beneath....

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:50AM
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I just recently heard about Lasagna Gardening but I still have some questions. Last year was my first small vegetable garden (8x10) and I did the "traditional" way, digging down about 6 inches with a shovel, lifting all the soil out, cutting off the sod, and then mixing the soil and compost/manure from WalMart and tilling it together. I got started a little late (June) but had a decent output. But it was LOT of hard work to get it ready.

This year I'd like to enlarge my garden and if I can get away with not having to do the digging/tilling that would be great, but I just heard about "lasagna gardening" and didn't prepare a bed in the Fall. Planting season is coming right up and I don't have the time to build the layers and let it "cook" for several weeks. Can I still do a lasagna garden at this late date or should I just dig like last year and save the lasagna gardening for this Fall?

I've read that you can build a bed and plant immediately but I don't understand how that would work if I'm planting into layers of plant material that hasn't decomposed yet, such as grass clippings, straw, moss, etc. Am I just over-thinking this?

Oh, and another thing. I have a pile where I toss my grass clippings and due to the density the grass is dry in the center with a whitish mold (I think). Would it be safe to use those clippings?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:31AM
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I attended the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show over the weekend and there was an excellent demonstration showing how to create a lasagna garden to decompose a lawn. They use corrugated cardboard, which allows air layers that are good for worms. To remove our two front lawns and change the landscaping to California natives and drought tolerant plants, I'm covering our lawns with cardboard and layering with oak leaves, some straw, clipped grass from our neighbor's lawns, water hyacinth from our pond and three to four inches of topsoil excavated from our rear garden project. Since we have an excess of topsoil, we're using the spring method of including topsoil, rather than the fall method of excluding topsoil and decomposing the materials over the winter months. I'm very excited about not having to scalp the lawn but simply decompose the sod.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:04AM
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Greenmantan, read this link at about lasagna gardening. Check the paragraph about 'When to make a lasagna garden.' They state you can start using the garden right away with the method used in the spring:

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:10AM
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I have a sloped yard and very hard soil with plenty of roots from nearby trees. I built a raised bed for veggies and flowers that is literally 3 feet deep at i side. I use the lasagna method because it allows you to add all elements of composting while adding to your gardens volume. It is basically the same as compost gardening. Everything melds together quite naturally. Leaves, grass clippings, I also use municiple compost from town wide leaf collections. If you have issues with dryness which is common with raised beds, you can amend your much valued psuedo soil with Coconut Fiber. They come in brick form and add an amazing amount of moisture retaining quality to your bed. It will actually last upto 5 years and is quite affordable. I get mine at

Here is a link that might be useful: Coconut Fiber Bricks

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:20AM
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I am new to vegetable gardening. I have clay soil and my plants hate it! What it used something like clay buster or lasagna gardening? Should we do either in the fall or early spring? We have a yard with lots of leaves in the fall. So we can use them. Should we till them in and if so how deep? We want to start a compost bin too. HELP!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 7:09PM
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I have the same problem

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 3:46AM
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My biggest question is about those who have a lasagna garden but wonder just how to maintain it.
year 1 I put paper down and layered it with organics. Horse manure, leaves, grass clippings, worm casting and straw. just what do I do in year 2? After the season is over, do I put another layer of paper and then layer it as i didi last year? and do I just continue this year after year? I have the lasagna garden book by Patricia Lanza but I guess I just don't see it.
Any help?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:46PM
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I tend to think that many people believe they can "recycle" better than large corporations. IOW, just bury newspapers and cardboard boxes, turn it into compost and skip the middle man, since you are using it as decomposing material. You are saving energy, recycling, saving the landfills, and promoting an Organic garden with natural materials.

I don't believe it for a second, now. As a teen I worked at a warehouse and we stacked broken down cardboard boxes outside the doors. After a rain, especially multiple rains this gooey slime would drip down the sides of the freight dock. It was nasty and sticky that never seemed to go away after the cardboard was picked up.

Then years later using cardboard in my garden, thinking the way most do, I found cardboard two years later in the ground and even detected the gooey slime. That caused me to do some research and I found out that I was very far from Organic. I would have been more organic using Miracle-Gro.

Here is what I found:

Cardboard in cardboard boxes:

Semi-Chem (semi-chemical fluting medium) is applied to stretch" the fibers, making it stronger and stiffer. Where the corrugated short fiber paper are usually used for peaks and valleys of each flute, then glued using starch adhesives.

While these adhesives sound innocent enough since they are called, "starch adhesives" (usually shipped to the cardboard manufacturer as a powder) they are seldom made up of Tapioca dextrin, the adhesive used for postage stamps. They most likely will be incorporated with 5 to 15% resins, such as urea formaldehyde, and especially used for cartons where water resistance is helpful. Most dextrin combinations are heated upward of 600 degrees to create a stronger bonding agent. If the paper lacks the amount of wax necessary for good fluting, wax bars are introduced in the process.

Newspaper ink:

Since 2004, 95% of American newspaper ink is now soy based, as opposed to petroleum based.

To make soy ink, soybean oil is slightly refined and then blended with pigment, resins, and waxes. Even though soybean oil is an edible vegetable oil, soy ink is not edible or 100% biodegradable because the pigments and other additives that are mixed with the oil are the same as those used in petroleum-based inks. However it does degrade four times as completely as standard petroleum inks. The fact that this newer ink has rave reviews how it can be "recycled" easier, doesn't mean it is safe for consumption. It only means the soy ink can be removed more easily than regular ink from recycled newspaper during the de-inking process.

Maybe less of a concern, but still a concern is that 92% of soybean acreage in the US is planted with genetically-modified soybeans, which some believe can pose environmental and human health risks.

I just don't think working so hard on my garden to get it right, I want to introduce consumer products into the soil if it's not necessary. The only motivation that I can see is that it makes you feel like you are recycling on the most basic level and saving a tiny bit of money. My cardboard and newspaper needs to go to a recycling plant or landfill and let dirt in my garden do the rest.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:02AM
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Yes, I have periods of intense heat and dryness. We had a bad drought last year. This type of garden works, no matter what soil you have below it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:42AM
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