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Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening is simple and elegant, similar to the pasta dish it’s named for. This gardening method doesn’t require any digging or tilling and turns kitchen scraps, yard waste, and newspapers into layers of rich, delicious, nutritious soil.

Lasagna gardening builds soil from the ground-up, which means you don’t have to deal with breaking through hard, rocky ground or weeding later. All you need is a sunny plot of unused land to make a lasagna garden planting bed. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  • First Layer: A loose layer of twigs, branches, and other woody materials that won’t compress as more materials are added to the plot. This base allows air to circulate through your lasagna layers and aids decomposition of organic materials.
  • “Brown Layer”: The next layer should be 2 to 6 inches of dry leaves, hay, wood chips, sawdust, shredded newspaper, or cardboard. These materials are very important because they act as the first layer of earthworm food, and worms are essential to the decomposition process.
  • “Green Layer”: The third layer is composed of 1 to 2 inches of food scraps (don’t use meat, dairy, fats, or bones), grass clippings, manure, coffee grounds, or plant cuttings, etc.
  • Alternate: Continue to layer the brown and green layers on top of each other. It’s best to end with a brown layer to deter pests and scavengers.

Over the next four to five months, your lasagna layers will slowly decompose into rich, healthy soil. While you can start your lasagna garden any time of year, it is recommend building up your layers in the fall so you’ll have fresh compost for planting when the spring growing season begins.

Lasagna gardening requires very little physical strain and is great for folks with limited mobility. It’s fun and easy, and people of all ages will enjoy watching the natural decomposition process of their food scraps being turned into plant food.

Lasagna gardening illustration

Lasagna gardening illustration
Bek Diamond, ©2019, Clemson University

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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