Lasagna gardening is a semi-elaborate (but by no means difficult) adaptation of old-fashioned sheet composting for which the gardener puts down a weed barrier (cardboard or sheets of wetted newsprint) directly on top of a new garden site. At it’s simplest, this process mimics nature, where topsoil is created by the annual accumulation and breakdown of organic material.

Lasangna gardening merely hastens the process. A growing medium is created by piling successive layers of various materials such as compost, shredded leaves, straw, grass clippings, manure, peat moss–whatever is available–on top of the barrier. The newsprint/cardboard breaks down, and a layer of topsoil develops as the other materials decompose. Seeds can be planted in little pockets of finely sifted compost on top of the beds, and transplants can be set directly into the decomposing material.

It works best if a new garden has some time to settle–we built lasangna beds last autumn after tiring of annual tilling, hoeing, weeding, etc started to sap our gardening energies. Once a lasagna garden is going, it’s great because one can start planting immediately in the spring…and all those layers piled on top really limits weed germination. Pat Lanza wrote a book, aptly titled „Lasagna Gardening” that your local librarian can probably track down for you.

A good companion to that one, actually a book that I think is more useful, is called ”Weedless Gardening” by Lee Reich. Lanza relies a lot on peat moss for her layers, which is not only expense but not particularly ecologically sensitive. Ruth Stout wrote some books, the titles of which escape me, espousing top down growing…lots of mulch and little digging, long before these other two. Been a while since I read them, so I can’t remember titles or specifics.