I want to install a new raised bed. Born lazy and raised tired, I thought I would do it by the lasagna method - by starting now it will be ready by April. Has anyone on the forum had experience with this method?
I use this method to make new beds because my garden soil is clayey and rocky and difficult to dig. I sprinkle some gypsum over the area before adding the layers of new paper/ cardboard and mulch. It is supposed to help break up the clay. I also water the layers if it gets too hot and dry. I think the earthworms move in and till the soil for you. When I am ready to plant I turn over the soil to a depth of 6-12 inches-by now it is soft and dark- and remove the large rocks.
It works very well.
I'm a fan of the method, wholeheartedly! But I do have to advise Susan that gypsum does not break up clay soil, at all. It's one of those gardening myths .....but at least it won't do harm (though I'm not sure if the earthworms like it)! :-)
This is what I do too, more or less. I put a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard down on the bottom layer, leaves on top of that, compost, etc, and then repeat that process each year as the soil line recedes. It's great for weed control (I was born lazy and tired too) and it's amazing how fast the paper and cardboard disappears. Will attract lots of worms too.
I rearranged my beds this year; the difference between the loose soil under the beds I moved and the exposed soil was pretty incredible.
The gypsum worked the first year I used it but was gone by the next year. The o nly thing that has ever w o rked on my hard clay soil is composting/lasagna method.
I'm so with you, if there's a lazy way, that's what I'm doing. It's hot out there and I get on avg, 5 mosquito bites per minute when I step outside. I've done smothering/lasagna a bunch of times in both clay-ish soil in OH and sandy soil here in south AL. It's so exciting when you see the results of your efforts, when you stick a shovel into the dirt and it goes twice as far as you expected, into moist but not muddy material that's dark and rich. My fav part of gardening isn't even the actual plants, it's the 'dirt,' and decomposition, and all that interesting stuff that leads to having 'great plants.' I try to have no organic matter leaves our property unless it has urishiol (the stuff on poison ivy/oak that gives people a rash,) is a bone, large quantities of something thorny, or salty kitchen stuff.
Instead of more glowing encouragement, which I could babble about for a couple pages before even breathing, I offer you my fav link about soil science. Just the facts, ma'am: 15 minutes about soil microbiology, without a bunch of technical jargon. Knowing how to make roots happy, growing from the roots-up, and preparing for that in advance, should help you get off to a great start!