Monday, February 2, 2009
I got a book through inter-library loan last week titled "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza, and I'm almost finished with it. It is a very informative book, and I have found myself taking lots of notes while I've been reading. As far as a lasagna garden, in a nut shell, it's about the layering. There is no tilling of the ground, which suits me just fine!
A few years ago, my husband made me some bottomless boxes made out of non-treated wood, and I used those for my planting. It was pretty successful, and I remember having lots of tomatoes that year. The boxes eventually rotted, so they were done away with. So my plan for this year is to have him make some more of those boxes, and then I hope to be able to experiment with this layering method.
Basically, I will fill in the bottom of the boxes with thick, water-soaked newspaper set directly on top of the sod. Next comes peat moss followed by mulch, peat moss, mulch, peat moss, mulch, peat moss, etc. until it measures 18 to 24" in height. Then on the very top will go bone meal and ashes or whatever else is recommended for whatever I'm growing.
She gives an excellent explanation of how to start a compost heap, which will make for a great mulch, and I began mine this morning with Brad's coffee grounds. I did learn not to use meat, bones, fat, and fish as those things will attract unwanted rodents/animals. Other kitchen scraps, grass clippings, manure, leaves, bits and pieces of sod, and ashes are great things to use as composting material. She gives much more detail about this in her book if you're interested in learning more.
Next, I need to decide what I want to grow this year. Last year was not well planned at all. I woke up one Saturday morning, and Brad was about to leave to pick up something at Wal-Mart. I asked him to pick up some packs of seeds while he was there, and that was about all the pre-preparation I made last year! I never fertilized the garden or added any kind of mulch. I did water it and probably would have had tomatoes had I staked them properly, but I didn't. (Note that being pregnant was my excuse for the failure of my garden last year, and I guess that's a good one!)
Something I loved about this book was that she covered every vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower you can imagine and gave instructions on how to properly grow each one. I've narrowed my list down to: artichokes, beans, peas, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, watermelon, basil, chives, coriander, dill, lavendar, thyme, and strawberries.
I will continue to narrow that list as I don't think it would be very realistic to try to do all of those this year. I think baby steps is the key to my success with gardening, but I think I'm already off to a better start this year than I was last year. Lord willing, maybe there will be some good results!