Monday, June 13, 2005

Worm Lasagna

Mmmm….lasagna: a layering of newspaper, grass clippings, leaves, bark, and half-baked compost spiked with earthworms.

In my gardening fervor, I’ve created a number of new beds. Usually, I strip the grass and/or weeds with a shovel or trowel and toss them into my compost pile. Then, I may or may not add some topsoil. To plant, I dig a hole, work and amend the soil, and put the plant and dirt back in. Any excess dirt generated from the loosening of the compacted soil and addition of humus creates the bed mound.

Lasagna gardening is the lazy way to make new beds. Not only does it kill the grass, but it adds organic material and nutrients to the soil. The layers (newspaper especially) attract worms who further improve the soil. The only drawback to lasagna gardening is the wait. It takes about a year for the layers to decompose. The beds I create this summer and fall will not be planted until next year. In my case, the wait is a good thing because I am NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY ANY MORE PLANTS THIS YEAR! (I am failing miserably.)

This is my first lasagna bed, creatively named the half-moon bed, for its semi-circular shape. It started with the lilac that, due to an underground clay pipe, could not be planted in the back bed. (Actually, I found another pipe in this bed, but said “screw it” and just planted the darn lilac over it. I believe the pipes are part of an illegal drainage system that doesn’t work anyway. Remember my rant about the soggy, lumpy back yard?) After mound-planting the lilac, I began layering lasagna materials to bring the rest of the bed level with the lilac’s base. It is level now, but I will need to add a bit more material to compensate for future decomposition.

The lasagna bed process is incredibly ugly. Hence, I will only be creating them in the back yard. I have heard of people covering the final lasagna layer with purty staw to make the mess presentable to the neighbors. I may consider that for future beds in the front yard.

*Can you spot the kitty (Mr. Tibbs) in the photos?


Blogger Kristin said...

All this talk about compost ... I really need to start a compost bin.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Trissa said...

I found Mr. Tibbs! He is adorable. I think I need to turn half our garden into a lasagna bed!

9:34 PM  
Blogger crazygramma said...

I have used layers of newspapers in my gardens for 3 years to help with the control of weeds and covered it with peat moss. I did not realize it got the worms going though now that you mention it I have noticed more worms around which is not bad because I am dealing mostly with sandy soil.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look up a similar German technique called hugelkultur (that's in English haha, in German it's hügelbeet) which allows you to plant straight away (granted, you need the material handy).

Also in Chile do they have a similar plant-straight-away kind of bed, called a circlebed (hard to find on the net). They're both for veggies originally, but I see no reason not to put flowers there, too. Basically, in both methods, you dig yourself down a bit and make huge, fat layers similar to the regular lasagna. In the German method yoy start with trunks and fat branches in the bottom, while in the one from Chile you use all kinds of kitchen scraps. Er... don't listen to me, look them up! :)

- Cipollina

2:41 PM  
Anonymous jaytea said...

I see Mr Tibbs there being curiouser and curiouser!

11:32 PM  
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8:20 AM  

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