Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lasagne Gardening

This is our first raised bed garden plot.  It is approximately 4' x 10'.  We plan to build several of these over the next month to get started on our spring garden.  We decided not to till the ground at all.  The soil is very compacted and somewhat clayey, but there are many earthworms (several for almost every spadeful of ground) and we don't want to chop them up with a tiller, nor do we want a heavy tractor on the land.  So, we are doing a type of sheet mulching, or lasagne gardening.


First, we laid cardboard down on the grass and staked it down.  The stakes also hold up the walls of the raised bed, which are logs from downed trees in the woods.  Next, we collected horse manure from the pasture around the garden.  Within about 100' of the garden, we collected enough manure to make a layer about 6" deep.  Next, we put down a layer of leaves (not shown) and finally a wheelbarrow load of good soil from near the creek.  We watered the whole bed with several buckets of creek water, then covered over with another layer of sheet mulch (cardboard/newspaper/brown bags) and weighted it down with wood.  We will pull back the top sheet mulch layer and add more compost/manure/leaves/soil until we eventually get a thickness of about 12" - 18", then we will plant our vegetables through a slit in the sheet mulch directly into the compost below.  Eventually, the grass under the garden will be killed, the bottom cardboard layer will decompose, and we will end up with a nice pile of rich soil, or so the theory goes!

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