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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do I have a lasagna thumb?

OK, for the third year in a row, I’m going to try vegetable gardening. For the past two years, I’ve made it to the planting stage, and that’s as far as it went. I can blame the bad soil or the weather or my job or whatever, but the fact remains that I never once attempted to keep that garden weeded. In both instances, the weeds outgrew the crops at such an alarming rate that I just couldn’t (didn’t even try to) keep up.

This year will be different! (I know I say that every year.) But this one really will be! I may not have a green thumb, but I’m hoping this year I have a lasagna thumb.

Huh? I learned about “lasagna gardening” from a friend and thought I’d give it a shot. While you can certainly plant tomatoes, oregano, basil, onions, etc. (perfect for any Italian dinner!) in your garden, the term “lasagna gardening” refers to the method of layering materials – your “greens” and “browns” – in order to create a nutrient-rich foundation in which to plant.

I don’t profess to be an expert about this. I Googled it. These are the articles I used (overview and specific), but I’m sure there are hundreds of others that would be helpful!

I probably should have started this months ago to allow ample time for the layers to break down, but I’m hoping this will still work for planting a month or so from now. Courtney helped me with my first couple layers (cardboard/newspaper, then grass/weeds, then leaves and shredded paper). I put it directly over all the weeds and didn’t even have to work the soil! I then had to think quickly to keep the paper shreds from drying and blowing all over the yard (Keith would have LOVED that), so I covered the whole garden with a screen (some sites say to used plastic for the first few weeks). I’m saving veggie peels and coffee grounds now for the next layer.

I really hope this is as easy and foolproof as the articles make it seem. I’ll keep you posted!

Has anyone tried this? I’d love some tips and anecdotes!

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. Plenty of uses for your homegrown bounty!


Jessica said...

I haven't tried it yet, but I think we will do this when we "redo" our "yard" this year. I have read all the books though and it sounds great! Looking forward to hearing about your progress :)

Jenn said...

I made my first box about a month ago, and the plants are growing like crazy!

Some tips:

1) Plant gopher wire on the bottom

2) Lay a weed cloth to prevent weeds from growing up.

3) Organic soil!! This is the thing that made the biggest difference. I went to a local place that can load up the back of a truck (It looks like our boxes are about the same size) for $40, which was WAY cheaper than anything else I could find, and the best quality soil. It's already mixed to perfection, so you don't have to worry about adding coffee grinds or anything else to it.

4) Drip system. Drip system. Drip system!

Hope this helps!

Sayeed @ Immediate Care said...

Nice tip with the gopher wire. Would have skipped that. From experience, I did a compost box a few years ago to mix with my garden and I made it too deep and that heated up to the point of combustion more than once. The natural, less waste route is awesome and works but be safe and read up before beginning.