I am experimenting with what I would call "lasagna gardening". My boxes are 6' x 1' x 1', on wheels, with a chipboard bottom and made out of pine. Any recommendations on how thick of a newspaper layer I need? Should the paper go above or below the gravel layer?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Sally from Bend, OR
I think put the paper on the gravel. If bottom is chipboard, do you have some kind of plastic covering it first because it will fall apart and it has stuff gluing it together you don't want to leach into your soil.
The person who "invented" lasagna gardening put the newspaper on the top of the soil to prevent weeds from growing. I'm not sure what you're doing with the gravel, but I'd say for sure the paper should go as the last layer. If you want, you can cover with woodchips or whatever you want to use to make it look pretty. Otherwise, I'd just use the paper.
I do this every year and have been doing so for many years, put as much newspaper as you have as thick as you can, it keeps the soil moist through the hot summer and keeps the freeze off the roots during the winter and keeps from filling the landfills.......You can do this every year.
I have been using the "lasagna gardening" method in my raised beds for years. My beds are permanent landscape timbers 8'x4' two timbers high so they are approximately 8" deep.
Here's how I made the "lasagna garden" over the top of the ground:
1st Layer: folded newspapers heavily overlapped and hosed down so they are sopping wet.
2nd Layer: grass clippings
3rd Layer: compost
4th Layer: chopped dried leaves
(Occasionally, I've used a layer of newspapers as the top layer over the leaves only to prevent weeds. Using it on the top is unsightly and you have to leave plenty of room around the base or stem of the plants.)
Each year I add more compost to the top and haven't disturbed the layers in several years. I can dig into the bed with a shovel and by looking at the side of it can actually see the layers!
I plant veggies in this garden every year and the lasagna method is by far the most productive raised bed that I've ever had.
If you're using chipboard for the bottoms of your beds you might want to consider using some sort of plastic to protect the board before using the gravel. The gravel is for drainage? The chipboard may become too wet and rot away to quickly.
Perhaps you could think of your new box garden as just like a large plant pot. It may only need a drainage hole, then your plastic, then newspapers, then soil layers. The newspapers on the bottom will retain water. Figure a way for the water to collect underneath the drain hole.
I'm in GA zone 7. Good luck with your lasagna garden!
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