How to Make a Lasagna Garden

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This step-by-step guide on how to make a lasagna garden will help you try out this fast-start approach to growing food in your own backyard.

How to start a backyard garden that is easier on your back, your land, and your time.

how to start a lasagna garden

I love to garden, but starting a new area is hard work, especially for me. That means if there is an easier way to jump-start a new vegetable bed, I am going to be the first to try it out. That is how I was introduced to lasagna gardening. A no-till, no-dig method that uses compost to turn grass into soil.

If you are curious about the idea of skipping over the hard work of tilling up a patch of your backyard and getting right to planting, you are going to love this shortcut approach.

What are the Benefits of Lasagna Gardening

Before we dive in, let’s talk about why I love this type of garden and some of the advantages of it. To be fair, there are quite a few benefits of lasagna gardening. These two are at the top of my list.

Benefit #1. It’s easy on your back:

With lasagna gardening, there is no need for heavy tilling, removing a layer of stubborn sod, or even digging. The layers of organic material break down over time, creating a nutrient-rich soil without the hard labor.

Easier on Your Gardening Tools!

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Benefit #2. It saves time:

Not only does lasagna gardening save you from the physical strain of tilling, but it also saves time. You can create a lasagna garden in just a few hours, whereas traditional gardening methods can take days or even longer.

Materials Needed for a Lasagna Garden

Before you get started, there are a few things you need. The great news is, most of these materials can be found around your home or easily purchased at a local garden center.

  1. Cardboard or newspaper: This will act as the bottom layer to smother any existing grass or weeds.
  2. Compost: You can purchase compost from a store, but it’s even better if you have your own compost pile at home.
  3. Organic materials: This can include leaves, grass clippings, straw, kitchen scraps, or any other organic material you have on hand.
  4. Mulch: You will need a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
a lasagna garden with plants growing out of the straw mulch

How to Make a Lasagna Garden

Now that you have your supplies, you can start your first area. I like to have “patches” of garden that are about 4’x8′. This, I have found, is large enough to grow a good supply of plants but not so large that I can access the middle easily from the outside.

Step #1. Mark Out Your Garden Area

Start by marking out the border of your garden. This will help to keep things neater and more organized with your layout. A few things to use for a border are:

  1. Stakes with string
  2. Metal panels or a premade setup
  3. Wood boards
  4. Cinderblocks

Once you have your area blocked off, you can start adding the layers.

Step #2. Mow things down

Before you start, you will want to mow the area down as low as you can. If the grass you cut is healthy, you can use it in your layers later on.

Step #3. Laying the first layer (brown material)

Start with a layer of cardboard or newspaper. This will act as a barrier to prevent weeds and grass from growing up into your garden bed. Make sure to overlap the pieces so there are no gaps for weeds to poke through.

Step #4. Water

I find things work easier if you wet them down. Not only does it keep your paper from blowing away it helps to jumpstart the composting.

Step #5. Laying the second layer (green material)

Spread a layer of compost on top of the cardboard or newspaper, about 2-3 inches thick. You can also use grass clippings or kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings.

Step #6: Add a thick brown layer

Cover with a layer of brown materials such as straw, leaves, pine needles, etc. You want to be about 5 inches thick with this layer.

raised bed lasagna gardens with mulch and compost on the surface

Step #7. Repeat the process until the desired height is reached

Continue layering brown and green materials until the desired height is reached. I suggest going a bit higher than where you want it. As things compost down, it will settle lower to where it is now.

Step #8. Water, water, water

Finish with a good watering. This will help with decomposition as well as attract beneficial worms to your pile.

Step #9. Prepare for planting

Since we want to plant right away and not have to wait months for composting to complete you will need to add a layer of compost and soil. This will give your seeds and plants a place to start that is above all the layers.

Step #10: Plant your garden!

Now, you are ready to plant and can do so as you would any traditional backyard garden.

Step #11: Add mulch on top

To help your plants flourish, you will want to add a layer of mulch around the base of each plant and seedling. You can use straw, grass clippings, wood chips, or shredded leaves.

grass clippings in between rows of a raised bed garden.heic

With each new growing season, you can add on a few more layers, keeping your new bed in peak condition for growing.

Making a lasagna garden is a great way to enjoy growing your own veggies even if you are not as physically able as you once were. All you need are a few tools, some yard waste, and a compost pile, and you are all set. Give this fun way of gardening a try, and start a new patch in your backyard today!

More Lasagna Gardening Resources:

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