Monday, July 27

ALTERNATIVES…to traditional gardening.

If you aren't going to dig, till, or plow, then how is the soil going to get cultivated? With patience and prior planning. Look at your resources. Do you have leaves in the fall? Do you have grass clippings in the summer? Have you started a compost pile? Do you recycle your kitchen waste? Do you have access to hay, manure, or barn litter (a combination of manure and hay or straw cleaned from the barn)? Can you get these things from the neighbors? Do you have access to newspapers or cardboard? Can you get wood chips, sawdust or sand? Have you ever laid something down on the lawn and not picked it up for a few days? When you did, was the grass yellow and dying? Did it have worms and little tunnels under it? That's who is going to be doing the cultivating, earthworms.

And that's the principle...1ay down lots of dark, wet things (newspaper and cardboard) on top of the sad and let the worms do what they do best...dig tunnels, eat dying vegetation, and cultivate, leaving behind rich wastes. It's nature's way...1eaves fall and make a dark cover on the ground... worms come into the darkness and eat leaves and make tunnels, they leave deposits of their wastes and. . . BINGO! The soil becomes loose and rich. Take a walk in the woods and see how nature does it. You can't improve on nature but you can hurry her along.

Let's outline a new garden. Start laying wet newspaper on top of the sad within the outline. Cover the paper with peat moss or any of the ingredients I mentioned above. (I use peat moss between each of the layers when building a new garden.) If you didn't do anything else, in a few months, lift the paper and you'll find loose soil underneath. If you layer successive layers of soil amendments about 12 to 18 inches high on top of paper, then wait a few months, trowel through what's left on top (about 4 inches) and lift the paper. Underneath you will have several inches of cultivated soil below the paper, about 8 inches in all and that's enough to plant in.

This is an alternative to digging, tilling or plowing and all you need to do is some prior planning. Start accumulating and storing your home and garden wastes, start a compost pile, and practice some patience.


  1. I've tried it and it works. Thanks, Pat.

  2. Jan, You would think, after 20 years, I would be tired of making new lasagna gardens but here I go again. This time my focus is on small children and I get to make a garden with 16 5 year olds. They want to grow pumpkins so I am going to make them a new garden along the fence so next year they can grow tiny pumpkins up the fence. This year we will plant bulbs and pansies. Happy gardening Pat