Lasagna Gardening

I have come up with a shortcut method to create my "lasagna gardens." Most of us know that a lasagna garden is created using newspaper, organic matter/loam/topsoil, then wood mulch. This is what I do, to save time, money, and back!


  • Outline my new garden on the newly mowed grass with white left over spray paint or string.

  • Edge deeply along this line.

  • Remove edging pieces and place within new garden area, upside down, so that the grass side is down. Create raised areas for additional interest with this part.

  • Layer whole area with 5 layers of newspaper.

  • Cover whole area with 5-7 inches of wood mulch.

Notice, I have cut out the loam/top soil stage!

This area will be ready to plant by the end of the next summer (about 9/10 months).

I have done this for the last 4 autumns. Any fall bargain plants or shrubs I want to plant immediately in this new area, I have previously dug a large hole for and lined the sides with newspapers, covering any grass. I then place the plant, backfill the hole, adding triple mix or well rotted manure. Then I top mulch with wood chips.


Last fall I also laid a long brick path right on top of the newspaper.

There are a couple of reasons this method works so well for me.

I ask my neighborhood corner variety store to save the thick weekend papers for me - the ones left over that they would normally throw in their recycle dumpster. (I don't use shiny paper/ads.) I collect them promptly and they don't seem to mind as I am also a customer there. This way I don't have to save weeks and weeks of my own papers.

Our municipality regularly trims roadside trees and bush. They put this through their chipper and it is dumped on Town land. This is free mulch for the taking and there is always a lot, in various stages of decomposition. I load my trailer taking aged and well aged mulch. I try to avoid the very new chips.


Voila! My new 'Free' garden, except for my hard work. But then, gardening, hard or not, is always a pleasurable activity for me. I garden in Zone 6a.

By theoldgardenergal from Fenwick, Ontario, Canada


Lasagna Gardening

Do you have any rules with the "wood mulch?" The reason I ask is because whenever it gets too close (within inch or two) of plants I've planted or where they're sprouting, it seems to have a toxic effect. I use purchased and have had it all the way from "sawdust" size to red bark chips.

This article certainly gives a lot of food for thought! Thanks, Joyce S. (02/26/2010)

By natvlegl

Lasagna Gardening

Hey Joyce - I'm sorry, I did neglect a couple of tips/steps. But I did mention I shovel from the older wood mulch, not the bright, new, pretty stuff! That new stuff, I believe, is going to suck all the nitrogen out of the area while it decomposes (not a good thing to put around a plant). I got this tip from the Town Worker who told me DO NOT use the new stuff right away. He actually came onto my property and delivered about 8 yards that first year.

Hearing what you have to say, I now know why Mark, the Town guy, told me this.

Probably, I missed another half a tip in my Lasagna method. This is it - within that next year, when the grass underneath is dying/decomposing, the mulch is also turning into wonderful loam. My very first Lasagna garden now has 3" of black beautiful loam on top. I do also, because of the unlimited supply, top up ALL my garden mulch once a year. The way I do it, I've never had a problem with nitrogen depletion.

Bottom line - new sawdust, mulch with "wood" color still in it (not gray yet) is NOT good to put close to plants.
As the old (very old) saying goes - happy gardening, and keep your knees dirty!

If anyone else needs more details about what works for me, I would be very happy to share my gardening experiences. Marg S. (02/26/2010)

By theoldgardenergal

Lasagna Gardening

I have done this for years. Problem is, where I live I do not get free mulch nor humorous. It really does work though if you have all the things to do it with. (02/26/2010)

By Laniegirl

Lasagna Gardening

I love Lasagna Gardening! I really never had much success with "regular" gardening but with Lasagna Gardening, my garden did very well! I am so glad I got the book and followed the instructions! (02/27/2010)

By mkelly


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