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Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

Posted by TheTradition 9b (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 12:37

The site gets nearly full sun no matter what time of year. There was a natural depression on this site, including the root system of a tree that was cut down before I bought the property. So, I figured this would be a way to "fill in" the depression and make a bed without having to dig up tree roots.
I filled the depression with lake muck until it was level (that took six or seven 5 gallon buckets).

Then I covered the goop with a 5'X5' piece of corrugated cardboard.

On top of that I piled chopped up cat tail stalks and other miscellaneous weeds and stuff from the lakeshore.

Then I added a thick layer of partially-finished compost.

Then I added two bags of top soil.

Then I threw a bag of Black Kow on top of that.

Finally, I dusted the whole thing with a pound of Azomite.

Is that enough or should I make more layers before I cover it with black plastic for the summer?

I plan to put sweet corn here in the Fall (Central Florida has two growing seasons for corn: Spring and Fall. It's not a summer crop like everywhere else).


This post was edited by TheTradition on Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 12:39

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

I am sure the grass will be smothered by all of that, but I am not familiar with Florida grasses. With the soil, manure and compost you should be ready to go. You can build it up as is shrinks (occurs normally) between plantings with layers of some brown ingredients also, such as fall leaves.

Can you do something about the grass at the perimeter of your bed? I would hate to mow up to it or use string trimmer. I have made similar square beds with cardboard,newspaper, and wood chips as paths between them so that grass right next to the bed is not a hassle.

Corn, huh? Little square beds like that make me imagine crops with more nutritional value - kales, chards, etc that can really pack a punch in the diet and create a lot of food in a small space compared to the corn crop. But you are not asking for a crop opinion here, sorry!!

Post some pictures as your wonderful garden grows! :) Rachel

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

Thanks for the reply. I tried corn last fall and again this spring. The fall trial was a disaster... I only got one small ear from a three sisters garden. The spring crop has been better, but still not up to my hopes. I blame poor site selection and insufficient soil amendments.

At one time, Zellwood, Florida (near me) was a sweet corn mecca. Farmers grew their crop on muck from Lake Apopka and had spectacular results. Farming has since been driven out of the area in an effort to clean up the polluted lake. The last corn harvest from the muck farms was in 1998.

Although I've known about this history for years, it only recently dawned on me that I live on a natural spring-fed lake that has experienced land-spreading in recent years, and there's plenty of muck for the taking right at the edge of my backyard!

So, I decided that I'd give it another go, this time trying to do everything right. Full sun, fantastic soil, drip irrigation, and protection from critters (I've had a heckuva time keeping squirrels and birds away from the seedlings, losing an entire start more than once). After I plant (this time starting in containers in case the lasagna soil is too "fluffy" for direct seeding), I'll build a "roof" over the cage made of a thinner garden fence material to keep the critters out. I also plan to enclose the bottom with boards so squirrels can't dig under the fence. This will also solve the grass problem, allowing for a weedwacker.

Sorry for being so long-winded, but I'm really on a rather obsessive quest to conquer home garden corn production! I've never done a lasagna garden before, though, so I don't know if I've built it up enough.

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

Perhaps this from Pat Lanza, who "founded" the Lasagna method, will be of some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lasagna Gardening 101

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

I know nothing about lasagna gardens, but a couple of thoughts about your setup.

One, the grass - looks like St. Augustine, and if it's typical there's probably some Bermuda in their too. They will take over that bed quite easily if not well managed. In fact, when I blew up the image I can see what appears to be St. Augustine already showing in the front edge as well as the right.

Second is pH. Second is pH -- Florida is notorious for it's limestone, and the FL aquifer runs through limestone. Since you talk about spring muck, etc., you might want to check the pH of your mix before you plant.

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

With a Lasagna planting bed the native pH of your soil matters little, since the planting bed is raised above that soil, unless one adds some of the native soil or wood ash or lime or a combination of them.
For this year what kind of grass is under that Lasagna bed matters little since the Lasagna bed will smother the top growth. However, next year might be much different as the grass grows into that rich planting bed.

RE: Lasagna Garden - done or more layers?

kimm - my concern about pH wasn't the native soil, it's the lake muck that was used to fill in the depression (as I understand it's under the cardboard - which will probably be mostly gone by fall planting - and will be less than 6" down from the surface by planting time). Given FL's limestone-lined aquifer, my concern is that lake muck may be quite alkaline, which is not the case with typical FL soils (usually quite acidic).

Second - apparently you're not familiar with St. Augustine's common growth habits. It spreads by very invasive stolons along the surface - one stolon can easily go 4-6 feet horizontally along the surface in a matter of a 3-4 weeks. Bermuda, which is common companion grass with St. Augustine, has rhizomes but will spread very aggressively horizontally on the surface by stolons as well. It's not the grass underneath, it's the stuff around the edges. It will grow right through and over that bed in less than 6 weeks if it can't be checked, and it's very difficult to keep in check without a very clear and maintained edge.

This post was edited by TXEB on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 11:26

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