This article first appeared in the Washington Island Observer.
By Steve Waldron
Russell and Alessandra Rolffs gave a demonstration on how to create a lasagna garden at the Gathering Ground vineyard. Lasagna, the food, consists of many layers. Lasagna gardening consists of many layers of composting materials to conquer a weedy patch and to provide rich gardening soil.
Also known as sheet mulching, lasagna gardening starts with mowing and watering a patch of ground (no watering necessary in the summers as wet as this summer). A layer of cardboard is great way to start. Best to use cardboard without brightly colored ink since it may contain trace amounts of heavy metals.
Additional layers may contain kitchen scraps, animal manure, wood chips, newspaper (without the glossy pages) straw and burlap sacks. Nitrogen rich materials (which tend to be green) and carbon rich materials (which tend to brown) are mixed in ratio of 3 brown materials for 1 green material. It’s important to have a layer of well-seasoned manure to inoculate the other layers of the lasagna garden with healthy microbes that makes for healthy soil, which in turn makes for healthy plants.
Lasagna gardening is not an endeavor for the impatient. A lasagna garden is not ready for planting until its second year. It takes time for weeds to die and compost to mature.