Sunday, May 17, 2015

The mid-May flower bed and how to make a lasagna garden

I've talked about lasagna gardening for so long, it surprised me that no one knew what I was talking about.  So, before we look at the flower bed, I'll explain what a lasagna garden is.  It has nothing to do with what is grown in the garden, but how you build up and add layers of organic material that will "cook down" over time.  Some call it sheet composting, but I like lasagna better.  Think of it as a compost pile that is the size of your garden plot.

The benefits are huge, in that you don't have to dig or till, and weeds are practically non-existent.   You begin by laying down a layer of cardboard and/or several layers of newspaper that you wet as you go.  Be sure each layer is completely saturated before you go to the next layer.  Think of it as the sauce between layers of lasagna.

Now it's time to add your green layer, which is anything you might add to a compost pile, such as fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves and bags, and grass clippings.  Be sure this layer is completely wet before adding your brown layer.

The brown layer consists of hay, straw, pine needles, shredded junk mail, shredded newspapers, and leaves.  Wet completely and start over again.  This time, forget the cardboard, but add newspapers and manure (if you have it) before adding your green layer.  Then add your brown layer.  Do this as many times as you have sufficient fodder.  Your brown layer ideally should be twice as tall as your green layer, but don't let that stop you. This isn't rocket science.

When you get ready to plant, there will be few, if any, weeds because the cardboard and newspaper killed any grass that was underneath, while the mulch you have created from above keeps other weeds at bay.  You will water less because the composted soil/material holds the water better.  You will never need to fertilize as long as you maintain the organic layers, which will soon turn into compost.

Now you know what a lasagna garden is.  It's the only way to garden, in my opinion, but the limited amount of organic material I can get hold of each year has kept me from having the garden I truly want.

Much of my time on Monday and Tuesday of this past week were spent in my herb garden and flower bed.  This garden, I laughingly call my flower bed gets NO help.  I made the decision years ago that if it lived in this garden, it stayed.  If it didn't it wasn't meant to be.  This is a true Xeriscaped garden, or one that gets no water other than from nature.

I finished mowing, edging, and trimming late Tuesday afternoon,

as can be seen by the long shadows.

It was hard keeping my profile out of the photo, though, as I took photos of the bricks you can finally see again.

Next, it was time to sweep.

What I would give for a leaf blower.

Right before I took off for the various places I needed to visit on Wednesday (including buying a sewing machine needle), I took a few more shots of the bricks and my

front flower bed.   To orient you, the window to the left of the door in the photo goes to my craft room.  The window to the right of the door goes to my living/dining area.

I hope you think of this as art, because for me, it's become a bit of a chore.  Not so much the front, but the back and sides of the house.  And of course, I couldn't believe how much the front flower bed had grown in just a little over a month.

Thanks for the visit, which means all this hard work was so worthwhile.  Any questions about lasagna gardening or Xeriscaping will be gladly answered on YOUR blog.  Just ask.

16 thoughtful remarks:

Divers and Sundry said...

All that work you do is one advantage to not having a yard and only having a patio, but then I don't get such a lovely spread of plants. I like your watering system :)

Jo Murray said...

Lasagne sounds perfect to me. You should be proud of the effort you've put in...your garden looks great.

Karla B said...

Wonderful garden and houses, my friend!

TwinkleToes2day said...

What a fascinating and informative post! I have a small compost heap that used to be a wire framed rubbish bin. Alas it doesn't hold very much, but now I think I will concentrate on doing a lasagna garden over the next couple of years I should be able to change all the beds over whilst rotating what i grow, keeping it all as healthy as possible at the same time as adding future goodness to the ground. Thank you Elizabeth. Have a fabulous week ahead :o))

Rita said...

Thanks for explaining. I had no clue what a lasagna garden was. I thought it had something to do with the types of herbs you planted, too. Now I know. Sounds great! All your work--looking good! :)

Aiyana Kalyna said...

I thought about doing a lasagna garden too in the next few years. I loved the book and was so inspired by it. I am building a greenhouse currently then I will set up my plot for lasagna gardening. I am also doing a Xeriscape garden too. This is my current project. That's why I go crazy over your gardening pictures. I find your "flower garden" so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your garden with us again. I always look so forward to your garden posts. I bought my home two years ago so I am slowly building my dream area.

johanna said...

aaah, now i know... never heard of this way of building a garden before.
i have a much smaller garden than you have, and i´m also following your "xeriscape" philosophy. if they don´t grow here, they just aren´t meant to be for this soil. watering is not done. i´ve tried so much on the bleeding heart flower e.g., with no result. just not meant for my garden. i accepted it.

Eliza said...

I think it is art because it is growing and you are doing a brilliant job I have admired your garden every year all the way from Australia, I love seeing the results of your labor. Good for you and thanks for sharing.

Hugs Eliza & Yoda

see you there! said...

We compost but had never heard of this method. I'll have to tell DH about it. Your front yard is looking very pretty.

Darla

Krisha said...

Everything looks fantastic, LOVE your front flower garden, and watering method.....grin.

We've had a bit of rain, yep, rain and this late in May to boot. Too bad it isn't enough, but hey! the weeds are loving it LOL

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Love your garden.. you made this with so much love and hard work! Fantastic!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I had never heard of lasagna gardening before...it almost sounds like fun, rather than the hard work I'm sure it is!

Everything looks just wonderful and well kept!

ionabunny said...

And there I was thinking you were growing basil, oregano, tomatoes, duram wheat and cheese. Silly me. Hugz

pearshapedcrafting said...

This is such a good idea! Does it take long to mulch together - I read your Herb garden post so guessing it has to be left for about 5 years! I agree with you about plants - if something doesn't like to grow in the garden it's not a big deal! Chrisx

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Quite a bit there to manage, that's why our new back yard will be half wild and half mowed, Some lawn and then critter paradise. Can't manage 1.25 acres and I certainly don't want that much lawn. Let the doggies dig happily. xox

CatieAn said...

thank you for all the information about composting....we used to do it to all of our flower beds and also added chicken manure every year. It made such a difference in the flowers and vegetables. I am physically unable to keep up with all the weeds so we made a unanimous decision to bark all the flower beds. I am thankful we had good rich soil underneath. This year we started spring with now knee high weeds and everything is so beautiful. We just have to go through the beds once a week to pick out the small weeds taking root......it takes minutes.

I do honestly miss digging in the rich soil, the smell of dank dirt and running my hands through it pulling out the weeds....but this is so much easier and now I can focus on creating other stuff.......thank you for sharing your gardens and ideas for making them richer