Upon reading the title, you would probably start thinking about a compost pile that creates ready-made lasagna or produces lasagna ingredients. Well, you’re absolutely wrong with at least the former assumption. Lasagna composting or sheet composting is a horticultural method deriving its name from the process and style of layering your compost. It may sound appetizing but it’s basically a procedure that helps establish a new garden bed with the richest of soil, that’s where the assumption that it produces lasagna ingredients is partially true. Lasagna composting is an organic gardening method that helps save time. Imagine all the benefits of composting with almost none of the work. Lasagna composting involves spreading all the materials directly on the garden in layers thin enough that they break down on their own with no watering or turning. How wonderful!
Some things to consider before attempting this type of composting:
- This is an ideal early-fall technique, so you will have optimal soil by spring.
- Lasagna composting takes six months or more, so it’s not a good strategy if you want to plant soon.
- This style of composting isn’t exactly the most attractive way to compost. Most homesteaders won’t care, but if you’re homesteading on a suburban lot with a picky homeowner’s association, you may catch some grief.
Creating a lasagna compost can certainly help save you some time versus traditional composting as it doesn’t require any digging, tilling or removing of sod. It may sound a bit sensational but it’s also quite effective. Organic composting in this manner will require you to just start and put on an initial layer of organics. Your organic materials can be in the form of newspapers or cardboard. These should be placed on top of your new garden bed’s soil. And right after this, you may proceed by watering this specific area. Watering will help keep the layers in position, and to encourage proper decomposition (adding in some topsoil can also speed up the process).
Now, the next few layers ingredients can be taken from either your kitchen or garden wastes. These can be your old coffee grounds, tea leaves and tea bags, seedless weeds, days old manure from plant-eating animals, seaweed, pine needles, crushed eggshells, fruit or vegetable peels, fallen leaves, grass or any other yard trimmings, peat moss and more.
Keep in mind the importance if alternating your lasagna compost’s ‘layers’. It is essential that you alternate the layers of your lasagna plot. You should also be able to fill-in your brown and green materials in between sheets, as these will be your carbon and nitrogen-rich organics. Your ‘browns’ should include: newspaper strips, peat moss, pine needles, and/or fallen leaves. While your ‘greens’ should include grass clippings, vegetable peels, and/or anything that was once growing and hasn’t been processed.
You can finish your bed by topping it off with at least four inches of topsoil or finished organic compost. Also add in some mulch on top of the bed as a finishing touch (cover the bed with at least 3 inches of mulch). As soon as you’re done creating your new bed, it will then be set for planting anything that you want within the next 6 months. When lasagna gardening, also note that the bed will still settle throughout time since the layers below will be breaking down. Sheet composting has been used by traditional farmers for hundreds of years to restore fertility and manage organic materials. Now that you know how simple it is, go ahead and try lasagna composting for yourself!