Lasagna Gardening

Cardboard covering soil over winter

We’re still harvesting carrots, spinach, lettuce, beets, winter squash, peas, chard, and collards from our kitchen garden but we’ve also cleared out old plants and began  placing cardboard over the soil and then topping it off with the great fertilizer from the brooder. The brooder, where we raised our broilers up until 3 weeks old is filled with manure layered in sawdust. This is a great  resource. Chicken  manure is a source of nitrogen for the garden. The cardboard covers weeds and helps stimulate the growth of worms. You can also use newspaper. Ruth Stout’s book, “Lasagna Gardening” is a  fabulous resource. Cardboard is one of the best resources for building soil in kitchen gardens. It breaks down nicely after winter. You can do many layers upon layers. When our compost is ready we will eventually use it to cover the manure from the brooder.

We also encourage  as many leaves as possible in the garden as the leaves mulch and  feed the soil too. I’m always a bit broken hearted watching neighbors haul away leaves to the dump in the fall. They are a “free” source of biomass, not a nuisance.

Wyatt unloading brooder manure/fertilizer

Our days are filling up with social events now that our season is almost over. I took great pleasure relaxing at “Hot Springs” farmer’s market this weekend listening to Michael, Wyatt, Don and Cathy play a variety of music. Life is feeling a lot less hectic these days, allowing us to appreciate our beautiful community and the kind hearted people that surround us.

Music at Hot Springs Farmer's Market

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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."
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7 Responses to Lasagna Gardening

  1. Sheri Salatin says:

    I’ve never heard of the book Lasagna Gardening. I need to check that one out. Love your pictures! 🙂

  2. Annie Carlson says:

    Our mentors have a no-till garden (gardens, actually) that hasn’t been tilled in over 35 years and is deep mulched. It is a wonder to behold! The soil is just amazing!

  3. Susan says:

    I’ve been lasagna gardening for just two years now, but I will never go back to digging a garden again. The results, for me, have been extraordinary!

  4. Jill says:

    OK, I’m pretty new to the no-till gardening method and I’m getting some beds together for planting next spring…I’m wondering though, how do you plant root veggies (like carrots) in this type of system early on? Seems like the cardboard won’t be broken down enough to plant those tiny seeds in after just one winter. Am I missing something, or do you just have to wait a little while to build up those nice soil layers? Thanks!

  5. Grace Hernandez says:

    The cardboard should be soaking wet when you start the layering. If you start this process in the fall the cardboard will be broken down by spring. If it’s not you should be able to tear right through it and plant. This year I “hilled” the soil for the carrots, sort of like doing a raised bed for them. They grew very well. I recommend Johnny’s MOKUM’S Seed for spring planting. They are so sweet. The best. I’ve been placed with Johnny’s winter carrots too. I start planting peas in February and there is little sign of cardboard at that time. Start with a small area with cardboard and play with it. Just watch and see what happens.

  6. Craig Storms says:

    I have been wary of using cardboard … The glue and toxins used in manufacturing cardboard are pretty bad.

  7. Ana says:

    I’ve recently ( literally .. yesterday) listened to a pod cast interview with Lierre Keith, who led me to Mr. Salatin’s name, which brought me here. My husband and two children just moved out of the city and are desperate to become self reliant. Our oldest is almost three and he is developmentally delayed and we are not sure to what extent until test come back after October. And being a parent we all are moved in ways unfathomable at times, when it comes to our children and their health. My husband and I want more than anything to supply our family with nutrient rich foods. Now just finding out about this no till gardening- I WANT TO KNOW MORE! I want to start the process yesterday. If you know of any links or books you could send my way, please let me know! I am so excited.