Mulch/Lasagna gardening

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by HoosierDeb, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    N. Indiana
    Hi folks.. I asked this question on the general forum but didn't get an answer... I'll try here. I was wondering how long it takes for the sod to decompose and the ground to be ready for planting. I want to plant garlic this fall and wondered if it would be ready in time or if I'm going to have to get spade out after all? I can either use manure with pine shaving bedding, straw, grass clippings, etc. or black plastic... I've seen both ways described. I'm in Zone 5 in N. Indiana and all the literature says to plant garlic in the fall... not sure when the appropriate time would be on that either.
  2. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    Damascus, Maryland
    When you ask about the sod decomposing, do you mean that you've killed it already(with round-up or black plastic or something) or you still plan to?
    Do you plan to till the ground at all, or just plant over-top the sod?
    Are you talking about enriching the soil with manure/straw/etc., or are you talking about mulching?
    has a nice, clear booklet on composting and soil treatment.

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    This is what I would do. Mow the grass as low as possible. Put down a layer of wet cardboard over the grass. Pile enough of the straw/manure/whatever mix on top, deeply enough to make a raised bed at least 10 to 12 inches deep. Plant the garlic in the mulch layer.
  4. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    We use the mulch-only technique in our gardens. We never till. If you put the mulch on heavy now the sod will die pretty quick. By heavy I mean at least 8 inches. I think the easiest way to plant the garlic would be to pull the mulch back and just loosen where you will plant each garlic clove as you go - just loose enough to get the clove where you need it. The soil will loosen itself up under the mulch by the time the garlic bulbs next summer. We usually plant a 3-4 foot wide bed, with the garlic about 8 inches apart each way.
    Then pull about 3-4 inches of mulch back over the whole bed. The garlic will come up through it. Then when the garlic is up good mulch it thickly. If you do it this way you won't have to do anything till it's time to harvest except maybe put more mulch on in the spring.
    I hate black plastic - it kills the normal soil microbes (the soil gets too hot) and contributes nothing to soil fertility. Under organic mulch the microbes and earthworms do all the work for you, loosening and adding fertility to the soil.
    Not having to weed is pretty nice too.
    As for the type of mulch, I would put a layer of the manure/shavings down, then do the deep mulching with straw. If you put too many clean shavings down they will tie up a lot of the nitrogen in the soil till they break down. Manure/urine fix that problem and add great fertility too.
    We're in zone 6 and we usually plant garlic in September.
  5. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Dec 11, 2002
    NE PA
    Why not look at the Lasagna Gardening book by Pat Lanza. There are
    drawings showing how to layer. Either purchase it, or borrow from
    the library. In northeast PA, (zone 5, sometimes 4) I plant garli
    in early October.