Lasagna Gardening


Dear Gentle Reader,

This evening, I went outside to water and check my gardens.  The mosquitoes were out in force!  I have been watering my lasagna garden at least every other day, but usually every day.  It has settled by about 1/2 of its original height, which was expected.   It looks mostly like a pile of leaves.  However, there are little bean sprouts all over it. Horray!  

Royal Velvet Bush Beans

That little yellow ball is one of the immature peaches that fell off of the diseased/infested peach tree we have.  All of the peaches will fall off and rot.  None of them will mature, due to the disease/bugs.  They are all over my raised beds.   

In any case, since this lasagna garden is heavy on the browns (carbon), I plan to chop up the bean plants (after harvest) and fork them back into the  pile.  If I could have, I would have used grass clippings, in addition to the leaves and straw, to build this, but I don’t have any.   This seemed like a good solution, at least partially.  Next year, I will add some balanced, slow release fertilizer.   

Have you tried lasagna gardening?  How did it work out for you? 

Update 6-14-10: Bambi (or maybe Thumper) ate the tops off of all of the plants.  Some of them seem to be getting new leaves, but moste are forlorn looking purple stems.

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Dear Gentle Reader,

Well, I was able to get outside and take some pictures tonight.   I sure was busy last weekend. 🙂  It really makes me feel good to get so much done.  Here is a quick look.

New Lasagna Garden Next to Garden Boxes

It doesn’t look like much, but I build a new bed (the square-ish brown pile) using the lasagna method.  I used dirt that was saved from last year, when we dug the holes for six blueberry bushes (they were planted in peat).  To that, I added about 1/2 bale of rotting straw, two bags of last years leaves, some slow release organic fertilizer, about 1/4 bag of composted manure, 1-1/2 bags of generall compost I got last year from Missouri Organic (when I built the garden boxes), a little bone meal, and some green grass clippings I happened to have.  I layered it all, but also kind of mixed it up.  You have to water each layer, and it was difficult to get everything wet enough.  Then, I planted purple bush beans, being sure to use innoculant.  There were lots of worms in the dirt, so I’m sure they will be happy to eat all of these leaves and straw.  I am thinking that the beans are a good first crop, since they fix nitrogen.  I didn’t have a lot of green materials, so I will be sure to chop them up (after harvest) and mix them back in.  Also, I may plant clover, oats, harry vetch, etc., as an over-winter ground cover, and then turn it under in the Spring.  BTW, you can see my four garden boxes in this view.

The Corn is Growing

As you can see, the corn is growing.  I have discovered that it probably wasn’t a very good idea to start the corn in Jiffy Pellets (well, we already knew that).  The roots are very shallow, and it tends to fall over with our Kansas winds.  Maybe it is just the winds, but farmers around here don’t seem to have too much of a problem with it.   Maybe they do but it’s not something that you notice when you are whizzing by on the highway.  Sounds like something to investigate.  I could ask some farmers at the farmer’s market, for some advice. 

In addition to corn, I have two pie pumpkins.  They are doing really well, but I am concerned that they will not have enough room.  I’m not sure how big they will get.  After they are really growing well, I could cut back to one plant, but I want to wait, just in case some cut worm takes one of the plants out.

Tall Fava Beans

As you can see, the fava beans have gotten very tall.  All of them are flowering, and some of the flowers have wilted and turned black.  The ants are still there, but not bothering anything.  And joy or joys, some of the beans have begun to form.  See below.

Baby Favas

There are two beans in the picture above, sticking out from the stem.   They are a little bit yellowish, compared to the leaves.  These beans are about the size of quarters, so they have a lot of growing to do.

The Amish past tomatoes are growing well in the SWCs.  Some of my tomatoes are starting to have buds!

Amish Paste Tomato in SWC

  My Meyer lemon is putting on a nice new flush of growth and blooming once again. 

Meyer Lemon

I moved several plants in the side garage garden, including a rose, some Shasta daisies,  and a big swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata  L.), a perennial Kansas native plant.  Last year, I didn’t realize how big this milkweed would get (up to 8-feet).  It was HUGE.   Also it needed some support.  So, I moved it away from the garage wall, and put a tomato cage around it.  It is pretty happy, and the rose is ok, but the daisies aren’t very happy.  Hopefully, they will survive.

Swamp Milkweed

We also have some common milkweed, but I don’t have any photos.  The lawn guy weed-wacked it, thinking it was a weed.  Well, it is; but I want to keep it anyway.  So, I moved it where it won’t get weed-wacked, and it is growing back.

Happily, my DH pruned (i.e., hacked back with a machete) a volunteer peach tree that was hanging down into my gardens.  I had about six thin trunks (since it is a volunteer, it had been mowed over several times many years ago) that couldn’t support themselves.  It has that pink peach leaf curl fungus, and bugs in the trunks.  Since my DSIL loves this tree, DH cut down only two of the trunks, and the lowest branches of a third trunk.  Now, I don’t smack my head into it when I’m walking between it and my gardens, it isn’t actually IN the gardens any more, and there is more sun getting to the gardens.  I hope that my DSIL understands, cause she really likes that tree.

Other than that, I put up a bunch of little pots with new starts for summer, including two kinds of rudbeckia, two kinds of cone flowers, and probably some other stuff, but I can’t remember what.  They are out in the sun, so they will learn to live with our fabulous Kansas weather. 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend.  I know I did. 🙂