“The idea is that they are going to decompose over time and continue to provide nutrients for the garden and ultimately you have to fertilize less,” said Baland.
Baland’s recipe for a lasagna garden starts at the bottom with a covering of cardboard to keep grass out.
“The grass and the cardboard decompose. For some reason earthworms like the decomposed cardboard,” said Baland.
After each layer he adds a generous portion of water, even on the cardboard, to help with decomposition.
The next layer is thin sticks spread out as evenly as possible to help retain moisture.
“That’s good because your garden needs water,” says Baland. “And it’s better to water from the bottom up.”
Follow the sticks with a layer of straw for the same reason. This is followed by a layer of compost and then fine top soil, again adding water between each layer.
To top things off, Baland uses a fine dusting of a weed preventer like Preen.
The whole job took about 45 minutes and anybody can do it. Baland says the results are better vegetables.
“It’s really neat to go out in the garden and pick whatever you want to eat and cook it, as opposed to have somebody else pick it, it sits on a truck a long time and sits in a grocery store a long time.”
But for now Baland will let his garden bed sit about a month before he plants. He just has to figure out what he wants to grow.
“It’s either going to be a bed for green beans or squash. I’m thinking green beans, but you know come back to check with me to see what I actually planted.”
Anoka County Master Gardeners host online sessions every Tuesday April 13 to September 28. You can ask questions and get answers from local experts. Go to their website to register for a free zoom session.