Easy Spring Gardening {Using the Lasagna Garden Method}

Over the weekend we had some beautiful weather here in Michigan. The sun was shining and the temp was around 50 degrees. Yes, to us that is warm. You wouldn’t believe it but I even saw some Michigan natives walking around in shorts and tank tops. lol. . I am not even THAT brave. However, I was able to go out in jeans and a sweatshirt comfortably. Either way, I know many of us here in Michigan decided to get outside and make the best of this beautiful day we were given.
Here on our little homestead we decided to put in four new backyard gardens to grow our veggies over the summer. After doing tons of research on the easiest way to prepare the earth for gardening I came across the method I am going to share with you today. Each year I struggle with a few aspects of backyard gardening. First, the tilling of the land. . . aghh. Using the rototiller on my property is like dancing with death. The yard is full of large rocks that are hidden just below the soil. One second your tilling nicely, the next you are being thrown forward face first into the dirt as the tiller grabs a rock. Then once the tedious task of tilling is done, the weed seeds take no time to root themselves in the fresh soil and overtake all of my hard work in a matter of days. Its sad, but true. The combination of these, plus the enormous amounts of spiders and bugs that move in is enough to drive any gardener running for the hills. But I am no quitter! I am determined to have a backyard veggie garden, even if it is only to be eaten by the deer. So yesterday I embarked on a new gardening concept. It was made for people like me, meaning that it is easy to do!
The technique I am talking about is sometimes called “Lasagna Gardening” or “sheet mulching” which consists of preparing a garden by using layers of different compost materials. The best part about this gardening technique is that you do not have to till your land. By layering the materials over top of the earth, the soil beneath will moisten and become richer soil for planting. As an added bonus, the layers will warm the earth below and kill off most weed seeds to keep them out of your garden, while tilling only bring them to the sunny surface.
To begin your garden beds, lay out a single layer of either cardboard or a few layers of newspaper in the area you want to begin your beds. We decided to use cardboard in our backyard, only because to me newspaper has too much ink on it (I don’t know if that is cause for concern, but I just didn’t like it.). To hold the cardboard in place and keep all the ingredients where I wanted them, we also made a wood frame to border the new garden area. Next, after framing in our cardboard pieces, we soaked them in water. This will help to start the decomposing process. We also topped the cardboard in layers of old fall leaves and old plant clippings from our other gardens. Not only will the layers of greens and browns helps to make the new gardens rich, it also helps to clean up our yard and other gardens at the same time so the old plants can get sun and come back to life. After layering cardboard, old plant and garden clippings and a few old egg shells from the kitchen we topped the gardens off with a nice top soil. That’s it, now just leave it alone until the weather is warm enough to plant veggies in it. The cardboard by this time should be soft and decomposed enough to plant through. If it isn’t, just cut a small hole where you want your plants.

 This technique works best if you begin the gardens in the fall, but spring works too. . just start your gardens as soon as possible to give mother nature enough time to do its work.

I will let you know how this method worked for us in just a few months when the weather is warm enough to plant outdoors. If you’ve been following our Winter Sowing technique, now is also the time to start your tender plants like tomatoes, squash and annual flower seeds in the mini greenhouses like we did the broccoli and spinach a few months back. If you missed that post you can check it out here. Its not too late to get started!
Here are a few other sites online that talk about starting gardens with the layering technique. Since I am new to this method, these sites may be able to answer any in depth questions you may have.
Happy Gardening!
<3 Dick and Jane

8 thoughts on “Easy Spring Gardening {Using the Lasagna Garden Method}”

  1. I was just thinking about trying this out too! Our weather and soil here in MT sound just like where you are so if I get this going soon it would be ready to plant in two months once our last frost comes. Definitely WAY easier than battling the rocks with the rototiller!

  2. Can't wait to see how it works! As far as newspaper goes, I just heard a speaker today on composting and most newspapers are printed with a soy-based ink (as opposed to a petroleum based one) so they are safe for compost.

  3. super idea. i have a bad back and tilling the soil isn't my thing ! saving cardboard as we speak ! excited for spring now, and it is only september !! thanks and looking forward to more – so glad i found you !

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