Setting up your own lasagna garden is easy and can be done completely for free. The entire job took me about a day all together. There was a little bit of collecting also involved, but the piles of stuff didn’t even sit for very long. So here’s how to do it:
- Lay down flattened cardboard boxes. Many people make the first layer of the lasagna a layer of cardboard or newspapers. Many other people think this is a bad idea because of what is in cardboard and newspapers like ink and glue. What I think is that cardboard and paper are great for the walkways in between the actual garden beds. I am just trying this for the first time so no guarantee as to how well it will work. I saved empty cardboard boxes and newspapers, and the rest I brought home from work. I also used the empty leaf bags when I ran out of boxes.
- Start with a layer of brown material. I use leaves collected from my yard and the yards of all my neighbors. They bag them up and put them by the side of the road and then I send the man to go pick them up for me. Living in the town I live in, there is no shortage of leaves. Brown layers should be about 3-4 inches deep.
- The next layer is a green layer. Things that are good for green layers are: kitchen scraps, grass cuttings, hay, seaweed (in small amounts), garden scraps, etc. I used hay that had “gone bad” from a friend with horses. Rotten hay that horses can’t eat is perfect for gardens. I planted an oilseed radish cover crop a couple months earlier and cut the tops off the radishes for greens. I also piled on some food scraps when I ran out of the other things. I finally collected seaweed from the shores of a local beach.
- Another brown layer and then another green layer etc. until your garden beds are piled about two feet tall.
- Wait a few months.
- When it is finished, your layers should be broken down to about two inches. They will be perfect to plant your spring garden in.
If you want to speed up the process, water each layer as you pile them on. Then cover the beds with tarps to retain moisture. The best time to do this whole setup so that you don’t have to wait is the fall. This way, the decomposition takes place over the winter and come spring you are ready to go.
How to set up a lasagna garden for free.