New garden & compost question (lasagna gardening?)

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by holleegee, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. holleegee

    holleegee Well-Known Member

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    I am planning my first garden and I have a few questions. The spot I have picked for my garden has not been plowed so I think I am going to try the lasagna (sp) method. I plan on using the old straw from my chicken coop but I didn't know if I could use the pine shavings from my rabbit cages. Would the pine shavings be to acidic? Would that be ok since I will be waiting until spring to plant? I could also get manure from a local horse stable if that would be good. This year I grew cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in containers and they did pretty good but now i'm ready for a real garden. I would like to start with heirloom vegetables so I could save the seeds. Any advise would be helpful. Thanks
     
  2. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All of those will work and will break down by spring. Put any and all greens and browns out there as you can. LEaves, newspaper, cardboard, straw, etc. etc.. Pull aside any remaining mulch when you plant and put back near the plant after large enough to fight off snails or cutworms.
     

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Holleegee, if you can have it plowed or tilled, that would be a perfect base to begin lasagna gardening. What was little known is that Ruth Stout did all of her tests over soil which had been tilled! After that, then you would need only minimal tilling in future years.

    You've already been advised as to what material to use and I won't add any without confusing things! But you asked about the pine shavings and acidity. Most vegetables like an acidic soil anyway. There's no way that you can make it too acidic using merely pine. Also, they would be excellent if coming from the rabbit pens. They already would have soaked up enough nitrogen to help break them down in the soil.

    So, till if you can do it. Turning the top 6" with a shovel would work also if you haven't any other equipment. Digging deep with a Warren hoe would even help. It's all to loosen the top few inches in order to have a place for the nutrients to be stored for use by the veggies.

    Martin
     
  4. OldFarmGal

    OldFarmGal Well-Known Member

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    Yes, pine is OK. Cedar is not.
     
  5. Lararose

    Lararose Adams Nebraska

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    You dont HAVE to till. I started my garden right on sod by the Ruth Stout method. I got a great crop this year of peas, potatoes, rutabagas, okra. carrots, onions, garlic and my beans and tomatoes are still going strong ( the squash and cucumbers had a bad year of bugs). I just piled everything up on the sod in the fall and by the time I planted in the spring there was no grass under there when I pulled back the mulch. I also did this to my two new perennial beds which were solid rock and landscape fabric when I moved in. The hardest part was moving all that rock off the beds. I then piled leaves and a foot of hay in the fall over the hard packed area. In the spring the soil was soft and I started planting! The front area of my house which formerly was just sterile rock (and very hot!) is now a lovely oasis of flowers and sedums.
     
  6. porboy298

    porboy298 Well-Known Member

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    Whoops Oldfarmgal, I goofed and put two or three bags of ceder in my new garden bed. Whats happens and do I need to dig down and get the ceder
    shavings out of my garden??
    Thanks
    Bill
     
  7. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    I don't have access to straw or poo. Will this method work with just newspaper, leaves and grass clippings?

    /VM
     
  8. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    I have used leaves and woodchips almost exclusively for 23 years and I haven't bought fertilizer or sprayed for 20; this year, while waiting for compost to finish and a load of woodchips, I'm into spreading "chopped" up weeds (bagged in the mower). Anything that decomposes will work! Meat and bones aren't recommended...

    katy
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    There are points both for and against an initial tilling. One was already mentioned in that Ruth Stout first developed her method over tilled ground. What's not mentioned is that you really have no idea what's under the surface if it's not tilled at least one time. Rocks, gravel, hardpan, whatever. Also, if the soil has been seriously compacted over a long period of time, it would need to be loosened up again. If not, rainwater may travel horizontally instead of soaking into the ground.

    Some of my garden areas now get minimum till but only because the rich soil is over a foot deep and loose. All I need do is spread more compost in the fall. True lasagna gardening would be impossible for me. I would need the ingredients by the ton. That can't be assembled at one time without a huge storage facility. Instead, I'll compost it all during the warm months and spread it in the fall. Works great!

    Martin
     
  10. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Once left the cedar shavings around a rose root when I planted it....and it died promptly. Since then I have read that something in the cedar shavings will not let things grow so you probably should get the cedar out as well as you can.