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Kill Weeds With Lasagna Gardening

Updated on March 14, 2012

When I first heard about lasagna gardening I thought it was just another silly way to garden for those who are truly bored. It seems that there is a new trendy way to solve every garden problem each year, much like the latest diet. Well, I have changed my way of thinking since it has actually improved my garden and has turned into a real time-saver. If you're looking for an easier way to garden, and a way to do your part to save the environment, then check out this gardening technique!

Photo by Elifranssens at Dreamstime.com.
Photo by Elifranssens at Dreamstime.com.

What Is Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening is a method of gardening that uses layers of newspaper and cardboard to create the perfect growing medium. The newspaper and cardboard turns into compost and improves the ground in which you are gardening over time. In addition, the newspaper and cardboard will inhibit weed growth, which any gardener can agree is a real time saver (and hand saver!).

To begin this project, start collecting as many newspapers as possible and save those cardboard boxes. If you don't have a lot of newspapers, simply call your local newspaper office and find out where they store their old newspapers. They will gladly give them away to you.

Get Started

The easiest way that I've found to get started with lasagna gardening is to begin in the fall. It is possible to begin this project in the spring if you have a lot of clean topsoil to start with, otherwise, hold off until fall because you'll end up with weeds growing on top of the newspaper.

The short and easy method to do this is the following:

  • Create a good soil, compost and mulch combination to place on top of the newspaper. This is especially important in areas where there is clay or sandy soil. The worms will need something substantial to eat once they have chewed their way through the newspaper. A rich soil will provide that food source and keep them around for those plants you'll grow in the spring. Hint: Add more sand to your soil mix if you have clay soil; more peat moss if you have sandy soil.
  • Put down a layer of newspaper over your entire garden. I make mine 3-4 pages thick, covering every square inch of the garden. No point in skimping since this is the foundation of weed control for next year's garden. I place mine going in all directions,which seems to keep them interlocked and less likely to pick up and blow away during windy fall weather (I live on top of a mountain and it gets very windy!).
  • Spread your soil, compost and mulch mix in a thick layer (3-4 inches thick) over the newspaper. This will weigh down the newspaper and keep it in place so it has no chance to blow away.
  • If it is very windy in your area, and there is a possibility of the newspapers blowing, try watering down your garden area immediately after you have added the soil and mulch mix.
  • In the spring, you'll be amazed at the difference in your garden soil. Where you had to plow before, you'll find nice, rich soil, ready for planting. You may choose to till the soil at this point, though for most gardeners they will be able to skip this step from now on.
  • When you're ready to plant, group the plants as closely together as possible. This will help to force out weeds. Add more mulch if and when weeds make an appearance.

Use cardboard to create walkways throughout your garden, both around the planting area and through the rows. You may also use several sheets of newspaper and lay them down to create a weed-inhibiting walkway as well.

At the end of the growing season, repeat the process, adding more or less sand and peat moss to your soil mix as needed.

Comments

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  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 

    8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    This is interesting and sounds worth a try. Thanks for the warning about extra soil needed in windy area. We live near the coast (in Pat's case very near) and it can get very windy in the winter.

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