bulbs before or after lasagna treatment

lakehouse_2010September 17, 2010

I bought a house that sat empty for more than 25 years. And all summer I didn't have to cut the grass! There's not a lot growing there because of shade and deer. Just a lot of ground cover that I don't like.

I'd love to cover the place with a field of blue bells or something easy and deer resistant. But do I put those bulbs in before or after I do a lasagna treatment?

I'm in the hudson valley and have about 2 acres. Thanks!

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Congratulations on your "new" old house.

Fall's the time to plant bulbs, so I'd go ahead and plant bulbs whether or not your lasagna beds are done. In doing your lasagna treatment, I'd be inclined to use multiple layers of newspaper between the ground or whatever groundcover you're trying to kill off rather than heavy grade corrugated cardboard as the bulbs will find it easier to come up through the newspaper. Mow off short whatever is growing there now also, as it won't be able to store energy and come up through your lasagna bed.

The bulbs that I know are deer resistant are alliums and daffodils, and colchicums may be as well. They will come back for many years in my experience. I think that fritillaria are deer resistant but I've read that they are unfortunately liable to be badly chewed by the disgusting red lily beetle.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:52PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I'm not sure I understand the question.

You don't 'lasagna' about two acres. Even covering a small bed takes an amazing amount of material.

If there is a lot of shade from trees, there is even more roots of trees. Planting anything isn't going to be easy.

Go to the library and get out some books on landscaping and gardening. It sounds like your time would be better spent at this point doing some research into what is going to be possible.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:50PM
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thanks for all the help.

to clarify, I'm only putting down the paper and manure, etc in the front "lawn". all the rest I'm leaving as is, but I do want to put in a lot of bulbs. there's a lot of woods I'd like to fill in a little with something other than downed trees.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:04PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Aside from clearing deadwood, don't do anything before living there a whole year. You don't know what is in there. There could be ladyslippers, triliums, and other wildflowers that would be a shame to disturb.

If you are simply spreading a relatively thin layer of manure, it's topdressing, and the grass will grow through it. Otherwise, it will take many, many truckloads to accomplish anything.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:16PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi lakehouse, to clarify are you trying to create a woodland type garden in your front yard, instead of grow grass and groundcover? This will be challenging, if you have many trees and especially if they are maples, which have agressive surface roots.

I've been doing various lasagne beds and sheet composting for about 3 years. I've observed that when I use paper and mulch to smother weeds in the fall, the paper tends to soften and decompose enough for some of the weeds grow through the following spring. To smother the weeds through the winter and the following Spring, you have to lay down extra thick layers. But that would also hinder the bulbs from emerging. So I would plant the bulbs after doing any lasagne or heavy mulching.

Sheet composting with paper to smother weeds works better in the Spring, because the paper is intact and that is when the weeds will be trying to grow, but will die under the mulch from lack of light.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:41AM
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right now the front yard is a covered with acorns and pine needles. Nothing else. But there is a side area with ground cover and a lot of rocks. There's nice light there. Just partial sun in the front and no real direct sun.

I was thinking of doing a lasagna treatment bcs a)the soil is just rock hard, B) the house was scraped and I worry about the lead paint scraps that got send flying and I heard this would help, and C) I live in a large apartment building and can get 100s cardbox boxes 3x a week (the internet grocery outfit is an environmental disaster, but the boxes are very thin and recycled and I was thinking they'd work), the house is in an agricultural area and I can get manure free and then 20 yards of compost for cheap.

I really don't know what I can get growing in this front 1/3 acre but I'd like to try to get something and there are bluebells elsewhere so I know they'd grow and the deers pass them up.

Maybe lay down the cardboard and then put bulbs and then the compost, manure, hay? and then in the spring topsoil? clearly, I'm making this all up but I appreciate your help

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 1:51PM
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