Lasagna Gardening - Creating A Garden With Layers

Lasagna gardening is a method of building a garden bed without double digging or tilling. How do you make a lasagna garden? Find more information and help with getting started.

Raised garden bed filled with leafy greens
(Image credit: Alamy)

Lasagna gardening is a method of building a garden bed without double digging or tilling. Using lasagna gardening to kill weeds can save hours of backbreaking work.

Layers of easily accessible materials will decompose right in the bed, creating a lasagna box garden that will give you nutrient-rich, friable soil with little effort.

How to Make a Lasagna Box Garden

How to make a lasagna garden? Think of the delicious dish that comes from your oven. First, you need a pan. For your lasagna box garden, you can build a simple raised bed right on the unworked ground.

Once your box is in place, your first layer will be made from wet newspaper laid flat six to ten layers thick. Make sure you overlap the edges by at least 6 inches (15 cm.). This may sound like a lot but, remember, you're using lasagna gardening to kill weeds.

Cover the newspaper with 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of peat moss. Now begin layering brown and green – carbon and nitrogen – materials. Chopped leaves, peat moss, straw, and shredded paper all make good brown material. Each carbon layer should be about 3 inches (8 cm.) deep.

An inch (2.5 cm.) of green comes next. Grass clippings, kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, fruits, eggshells, and coffee grounds are all good additions to your nitrogen layers.

Keep layering until your box garden is about 2 feet (61 cm.) deep. Sprinkle the top with bone meal and wood ashes and your lasagna box garden is ready to "bake." A cover of black plastic will help hold in the heat.

Six to ten weeks later, 2 feet (61 cm.) of material will shrink to 6 inches (15 cm.) and your lasagna box garden will be ready to plant.

How Does Lasagna Gardening Work?

How does lasagna gardening work? Just like your typical compost pile. Heat from the sun and decomposing material plus good bacteria and earthworms all add to the natural process. You're making soil in much the same way Mother Nature does.

Since the material is spread out, the process works faster and there's no need to turn or sift the materials. Some gardeners don't even wait for decomposition but plant directly into the freshly laid lasagna gardening bed.

Does lasagna gardening work outside the confines of a raised bed? Absolutely. Use lasagna gardening anywhere a new bed is planned. When an old, weed-ridden bed needs replanting, use lasagna gardening to kill weeds and replenish the soil. Once you know how to make a lasagna garden, you can apply the technique anywhere.

Jackie Rhoades

Jackie Rhoades began writing for Gardening Know How in 2010.