Worms find this gardening technique absolutely delicious! In this article you’ll learn how professional landscapers use waste cardboard and mulch to transform weed patches and lawns into beautiful drought tolerant gardens. The secret is you can do it with no digging! The lasagna gardening technique feeds worms and your soil while saving water and your chronically sore back.
Work with nature! By employing biomimicry, you can take advantage of natural systems to support your garden plants. In a forest, leaf litter and branches create a thick layer of mulch that becomes humus and eventually soil. This crucial mulch layer supports a fungus network that drives the soil process and holds great quantities of water and nutrients for plants. The mulch layer protects soils from erosion and insulates plant roots from intense summer heat. Any weeds that penetrate this layer can be pulled easily.
Making garden lasagna is fun and easy:
1. Prepare the site;
2. Install cardboard layer;
3. Mulch heavily;
4. Plant in fall.
Prepare the future garden site anytime by cutting large weeds with a mower. Do not spread weed seeds; instead, cut and remove from site. Cut down and remove any saplings or woody plants. If desired, spread composted chicken manure and/or lime to improve poor soil and to speed grass composting.
Install three layers of heavy cardboard over the entire site.Find it in recycle bins at appliance and bike stores. Stake it onto slopes and cover edges with soil. Wet the cardboard as required and remove any plastic tape to avoid messy surprises next season. Likewise, avoid using plastic cloth as a weed barrier; it never turns into soil and haunts the gardener for years to come.
Mulch the cardboard layer with any organic mulch that will stay in place. Stone mulch and other non-composting materials are best left for people who like running leaf blowers and pulling weeds. The best mulch for gardens is shredded leaves and bark, because it is readily available, holds moisture, rots quickly, and will not erode in rain. Other good choices are clean straw (not hay), bark and wood chips.
Once the fall rains have begun, pull back the mulch to reveal wet cardboard, dead plants, and worm-aerated soil. Open up a hole and place extra soil onto a tarp. After planting a native shrub to the same depth as in the pot, replace the cardboard and mulch close to (but not touching) the plant stems. Baby plants need regular, deep irrigation over the first two summers (July - Sept) to establish tough root systems. Finished compost placed around transplants will also help. Replace leaf mulch every two years.
Established bindweed (Convolvulus spp), ivy (Helix spp), and other weeds may require successive lasagna layering treatments. Avoid purchasing weed-contaminated soil / manure from suppliers; assume there are weed seeds present and treat all exposed soils with lasagna!