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OUT IN THE YARD — Tried and true technique ensures garden success

Scrolling through Facebook last week resulted in information from a newspaper posting describing a quick way to start an easy garden without having to dig up soil.

It explained that you could place multiple layers of wet newspaper down on grass or weeds, place transplants on top of the wet newspaper and then spread soil over the whole thing.

In Southeast Texas, the following proven garden technique works. It is called lasagna gardening.

Sandra Hoke, a volunteer from Shangri La Gardens and an Orange County Master Gardener, graciously shared this information with our master gardener group last year about making a lasagna garden.

She provided us with 10 steps. I added step No. 1. According to Sandra, there’s still time to build your lasagna garden now for the fall.

  1. To make a lasagna garden, begin by selecting a sunny site with at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. Place cinder blocks, untreated landscape timbers or a rope to mark the area. A good height is 2 cinder blocks high or 2 timbers high.
  2. Stomp down grass and weeds. No need to pull weeds or grass. Apply six to eight thick layers of wet Refrain from using any shiny colored newspaper. Cardboard is used as a base layer if you have a hard time getting rid of weeds.
  3. Peat moss goes on top of the wet newspaper because it holds in the moisture. Completely cover the newspaper with the peat moss.
  4. Sprinkle compost from your compost pile or buy it by the bag.
  5. Sprinkle composted manure from horses, cows or chickens onto the lasagna garden.
  6. Sprinkle coffee grounds as the next layer.
  7. Tear up newspaper or use shredded paper from the paper shredder.
  8. Place compost over the shredded or torn paper so it will not blow away.
  9. Spread leaves over the compost.
  10. Add bone meal like parmesan cheese tops a lasagna.
  11. Lastly water, water, water the pile. The pile should now be around 12 inches tall.

Sawdust from a carpenter’s shop and wood ash from your fireplace can also be added to this garden.

Place plastic over the mixture and allow to cook for weeks or you can plant in it right away.

Sandra planted in the garden right away as an experiment thinking it would never work. To her surprise, it did!

After harvesting your garden for one season, add more layers for the next season. Newspaper is not added again.

Thanks, Sandra, for helping us learn this tried and true technique!

Reach Jefferson County Master Gardener Eileen Slater at jcmgenslater@gmail.com or call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 409-835-8461.