Friday, November 6, 2009

The Lasagna Garden: It's not what you plant, it's how you plant it.

When I first heard of the Lasagna Garden, I pictured rows of ricotta, tubs of tomatoes, bins of basil. But the idea of the lasagna garden is not what you plant, but how you plant it. The idea is layers. The goal is rich, weed-free soil. That, I need.

Our yard already had a defined garden space when we moved in, but it had been left unattended for some time and was a bit of a weed jungle. Seriously, the weeds were as tall as me. We cleared it out, tilled it, and planted vegetables. Oh, the abundance! Was not there. I think we had 3 main problems. Lingering weeds, lots of them. Soil that wasn't very rich (note to self: compost really is black gold). And The Great Muncher.

I swear this groundhog is of either Mexican or Thai decent because she chewed the cilantro to the ground DAILY. Now, I'm willing to share what I've grown (have you read the strange and sweet children's book Rabbit Hill?), but not all of it. My children get hungry too.

So this fall we're starting the lasagna garden. We (I'm using the 'royal we' here) laid down a layer of cardboard, then the raised beds, then compost*, then leaves. We hope to layer more compost still this fall or early next spring.

*a few weeks ago, I harvested 16 5-gallon bucketsful of compost from our compost bin in the backyard. Our kitchen scraps and leaves had been cooking in there for up to a year, and I was utterly shocked that it had indeed turned into usable dirt. I only found a few banana stickers in there, and one ballpoint pen. Most everything else was unidentifiable, having become rich, black soil. The one exception was the mound of cornhusks from my recent corn escapade.

Anyway, here's what the garden is looking like these days.

Plan for the spring: another box of cedar to make the beds taller, and MORE COMPOST. I can't wait!

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