Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's too early to tell for sure...

...but I think I'm already a BIG fan of lasagna gardening. Some of the things I like about it.......

Lasagna gardening initially attracted me because you do not have to remove sod and you do not have to till - two things I HATE about gardening. I also loved the fact that you make use of things around your yard to build the beds. This method is certainly quite a bit different than anything I'd read about before, but I was more than willing to give it a try.

Lasagna Garden Beds
The lasagna beds last fall

lasagna garden beds
Even by early spring, the beds had cooked down quite a bit

It was hard to imagine that my ungainly piles of straw, grass, leaves and hummus/manure would amount to much, but check it out:

Compost and worms in lasagna garden

That's rich, dark, crumbly compost. Complete with lots of worms. Beautiful! (I recruited my son's help for this photo. He wanted to split the worm in half to make two worms, but I told him to let the poor worm be - maybe the WORM was quite happy being just one worm!)

Now I don't feel nearly as much pressure to make compost in my compost pile (more on that later) since you're really making compost right in the garden when you use this method. In fact, another name for this process is sheet composting.

Pat Lanza claims in her book that this method of gardening will result in virtually no weeds. I had my doubts, but so far we have had some weeds, especially along the edges of the beds with very few on top. What few there are have been easy to pull. If I created boxes for the beds, I'll bet I'd have very few if any. But for now, the free-style beds are working for me - less work and less expense. I also have the option of expanding the length of the beds if I so choose. Only time will tell if we will keep the weeds at bay for the long term.

Another advantage that's starting to dawn on me is that by having raised beds, you're naturally creating a well-drained gardening area. When I water the plants, the water seeps in directly, it does not pool on the ground or run off at all. At the same time, the organic materials in the beds hold onto the moisture - every time I dig around, the organic matter underneath (some of it has turned to compost, some if it is still intact) is nice and moist.

So, so far we have no tilling, no sod removal, fewer weeds, composting in place, good drainage, and good moisture retention. Sounds good to me! I can't wait to start more beds later this summer and fall!

By the way......we did get that fence put in (such as it is) before we started planting, but more on that later, along with a funny story about Bailey, some deer and our garden fence.

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