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What is Lasagna Gardening and How Do You Do it?

Written by Amir Tajer


Posted on February 22 2019

When you hear the word “lasagna” we’re sure the Italian pasta dish comes to mind, but we promise this word carries some importance in the gardening community.

Also referred to as sheet composting or layer gardening, lasagna gardening is a form of gardening that's quickly gaining popularity. The Lasagna Garden technique is a practical and natural way of cutting down on tilling and digging.

Read on to find out how to make one, its benefits and more.

What is a Lasagna Garden?

What is a lasagna garden

A lasagna garden is made up of layers of easily available materials which decompose in a garden bed.

Building a lasagna box garden will give you nutrient rich and healthy soil with little effort.

Simply put, a lasagna garden allows you to compost and plant on the same spot.

How Can You Make One?

The materials used to make a lasagna garden could include cardboard, newspapers, mulch, kitchen scraps, or any other decomposable material.

While the steps could vary depending on your needs, you can make a basic lasagna garden through the following steps:

1. Site Preparation 

Prepare your preferred site by cutting any weeds, vegetation, or woody plants. Avoid spreading any weed seeds by cutting and removing from site.

2. Apply Layer One

Cardboard box for compost

Apart from smothering weed and vegetation growth beneath the garden, this layer is meant to reduce the rate nutrient and water drainage while still allowing the soil and plants to 'breathe'.

This is particularly useful for sandy soils.

Avoid using plastics and thick or coated cardboard. This layer is best made overlapping thin cardboard blocks or newspapers directly on the prepared ground.

First soaking these materials encourages decomposition. For areas with clay soil, this layer might not be necessary.

3. Spread Out Layer Two

To make the second layers, substitute carbon-rich brown mulch with nitrogen-rich green vegetation.

Brown materials include coffee grounds, fallen leaves, and pieces of wood while the green materials could be vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, and plant cuttings.

Brown materials should be thrice the amount of green material to achieve a suitable carbon and nitrogen ratio.

Once you achieve a height of about two feet, drench the raised bed. You can also sprinkle the top of the bed with wood ashes.

Covering the bed with black plastic helps hold the heat in place which fastens the composting process. Allow the bed to 'bake' for around 6 to 10 weeks.

4. Apply Layer Three

Healthy garden soil

The last layer should comprise of good soil that's deep enough to support the roots of the plants you intend to plant.

Ideally, this should be at least 3 inches. Unlike the popular belief that good soil is any native topsoil, good soil is any soil that provides adequate nutrients to the plants.

Advantages of Lasagna Gardens Over Other Gardening Techniques

Some of the reasons you should consider building a lasagna garden include:

  • You do not need to dig, till, or cultivate the area you intend to set up the garden.
  • A lasagna garden can be positioned anywhere as long as it is exposed to sufficient sunlight.
  • It has fewer weeds.
  • Lasagna gardens can be constructed to any height which makes them ideal for people who find it difficult to move around.
  • The materials used are easily accessible.

 The only downside is it takes at least a year for all the materials to decompose completely for plant use. So it’s best to start now so this time next year you’re ready in time for Spring!

Is it Suitable for Garden Beds or Just for In-Ground Gardens?

Tomatoes in the garden

As lasagna gardens require rebuilding, they are best suited for annual plants including vegetables. Apart from being suitable for in-ground gardens, lasagna beds can also be used as garden beds.

We will also provide you with organic or eco-friendly fertilizers that will supplement the nutrients created from this gardening method. Our Alfalfa Meal is particularly known to speed up the decomposition process in compost piles by feeding microorganisms.

Shop the featured products below or feel free to browse the rest of our fertilizer collections. And if you happen to make a Lasagna Garden, please share with us on Instagram by tagging @greenwaybiotechinc or using #growwithgreenway.


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