No tilling? No digging? No weeding? No kidding! It's Lasagna Gardening: an easy, non-backbreaking way to create garden beds. Organic materials piled up in deep layers (just like a lasagna) create a super-fertile spot for growing just about anything -- without the hard work!
Patricia Lanza, author of the gardening classic Lasagna Gardening
, was kind enough to chat with DIY Life about her celebrated no-dig method and her own beautiful garden. Read on!
1. How big is your current garden and what are you growing right now?
My current garden(s) encompass our lake property where we live and a sunny plot at my Aunt Violet's house. The house property has a lot of shade and part-shade. I grow low-growing and ground-hugging plants in a curved bed that borders the front walk, with bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering woody shrubs in the remaining border gardens.
The color starts in early spring and continues until early winter. I grow vegetables, herbs and annuals at the very sunny plot at Aunt Violet's.
2. What do you love most about your garden in summer?
This may seem hokey but I love the fact I can pick up my garden soil with my hands and just a few years ago it was all clay, rock and tree roots covered with black plastic, landscape cloth and pebbles. My gardens are teeming with assorted plants that are always coming in or out of bloom and I actually like dead-heading.
Annuals are the constant color in summer and I never cease to be amazed at how much they grow and bloom in summer.
3. Any gardening disasters/failures you'd like to share with us? Is there anything you have been unable to grow?
I live surrounded by trees: oak, pine, maple, dogwood, magnolia, plum, etc. I have the perfect places for Hosta but the wildlife has made growing them very difficult. Out of thirty I now have three. In my vegetable garden the tomatoes got blight and rabbits took out the first planting of beans.
4. What are your favorite summer veggies or fruits and how do you like to serve them?
Tomatoes, beans, potatoes, garlic, peppers, squash and eggplant. I cook a dish with all of them cut into chunks, browned in olive oil and simmered together until tender. It's even great cold.
5. What words of advice or encouragement can you offer novice vegetable gardeners like me?
By using Lasagna Gardening to prepare your garden space you take out the really hard work of digging, tilling, weeding and half the watering.
In return for the one-time really hard work of collecting and wetting paper or cardboard, collecting organic material (any of fifty things I mention in my books) and layering them gives you years of weed-free, rich, organic soil that you can plant anything in.
The first tool you use to make an organic lasagna garden is your eyes. Look around to see what you have to make layers. Then use your brain and make plans to collect as much as you can and keep it close to your new garden.
Keep collecting material as you are now entering a garden zone that is an on-going layering process and you will never be finished. And isn't that the way a garden should be? Never finished?