Lasagna layers and direct sow

Jessi-Ohio(6)February 1, 2013

I am new to outdoor gardening but I have indoor plants that I do really well with. We had some warm days here in Ohio so I covered over beds I haven't done anything with since moving into our house. I put the layers of newspaper down then covered them with dirt. I'm unsure whether to mulch now or not because I plan to direct sow some flowers when spring comes. The directions on seed planting say to plant the seed at certain depths in the dirt. Should I mulch over the dirt now and just sweep away a little hole to plant the seeds or should I wait until the seedlings come up to mulch? Thanks!

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For the lasagna method, you alternate layers of green and brown over the layer of newspapers. I top it all off in the spring with a layer of composted horse manure. The first year I tried this method, I had time to build a bed for the following year and got it about 24" high. It really sunk down over winter (2007/2008) and last year it was level with the original ground. I just keep adding compost in some areas depending on what I plant.

I think you're supposed to give the layers at least 6 weeks to settle down. Last year I wanted to get going on a new bed right away. It was for winter squash which I planted in hills. I made a hole where I wanted the hill and added a few scoops of composted manure. It worked out well but the bed itself isn't in as good shape at the beds I built up with more layers.

The lasagna method gets organic material into the soil. My earthworm population grew. I don't walk on the beds so they are always soft. I think just adding soil on top of some newspapers hasn't left enough depth for roots. Flowers are probably ok unless they have a deep taproot. The paper takes a while to decompose. If you have grass clippings, kitchen waste, old hay, old leaves (chopped up), I would build up a higher pile. Then put the dirt on top. You still have time before spring planting.

If you need materials, you might have a neighbor with a pile of old grass clipping (without herbicides) they'd love to have you cart away. I also find free manure advertised on craigslist.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:48PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I'd agree that based on the info provided we aren't talking about a lasagna garden. What you describe is just newspaper with some dirt on top. In that case you are going to need at least 6 inches of dirt.

As to the mulch, it all depends on what you plan to use. The best organic mulches like straw, hay, grass clippings, shredded leaves, etc. can be added at any time and will also help improve the soil. They are easy to pull back, plant and recover.

Other less ideal mulches - things like wood chips and bark - would best go on after the plants are up enough to see where the plants are. You could rake them carefully back in spots to plant the seeds but make sure the bark/chips don't get mixed into the soil where they can bind up nitrogen.

If you plan to build real lasagna beds that are several layers deep and made out of multiple layers of mixed ingredients then the guidelines say to create small pockets/handfuls of soil within the top layers of the bed and plant the seeds in those pockets.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:26PM
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