Tag: Lasagna Bed

Groundbreaking Food Gardens Book Review

Groundbreaking Food Gardens Book cover of Groundbreaking Food Gardens

Niki Jabbour is the author of Groundbreaking Food Gardens. This great garden planning book contains 73 garden plans to inspire you. Jabbour gives a brief introduction to her 72 contributors. Then each designer provides a layout and tips for their garden. Groundbreaking Food Gardens comprises a wide range of gardens. There is truly something for everyone.

The table of contents allows the reader to pinpoint the type of garden they are thinking about without reading from cover to cover. But reading straight through benefits the serious gardener. Each of the contributors explains the how and whys of their design. Additionally, the garden experts provide lots of information. Tips on succession planting, soil amendment and water rates add to the book.

Eclectic best describes the multitude of garden designs. The sections include potted gardens, roof top gardens as well as large-scale operations. Some of the gardens are strictly focused on edible plants. Others combine food and flower. Still others are designed with backyard living in mind. Quite a few plans are geared toward kids. Both the Chicago Hot Dog Garden and the OTTO Pizza Garden incorporate familiar shapes into the garden. This visual approach is fun for kids (and adults.)

Groundbreaking Design InstructionsDescription of garden reducing grocery bill

One of the best elements of Groundbreaking Food Gardens is the instructions for implementing the designs. Details for achieving the same or similar look are provided in an easy to understand manner. For example, a step-by-step guide for planting a knot garden explains the spacing and layout of the plants along with the materials needed. Diagrams are provided for individual plant layout. Other structures such as containers and pallet gardens also include instructions.

There are sidebars sprinkled throughout the pages. Some, like the one on Lasagna Gardening are page long and appear in the table of contents. Others like the snippet on square foot garden give the reader just a taste. Many of the contributors share their personal knowledge gained through years of gardening.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens covers so many possible ways to grow nutritious food. I knew some of the techniques such as the Lasagna Bed and the Square Foot Gardening. But many others contained new information. While several of the garden designs require some experience, quite a few were geared toward beginning gardeners. This book has something for everyone.

Book pages describing kid friendly gardens



Lasagna Garden Experiment

I like trying new techniques. One of the garden ideas I researched this year is the lasagna garden. Many people assume this means planting the ingredients for lasagna. However, this is nowhere close to the true meaning of a lasagna garden.

As you can see in the photo to the right, I have an area in the lot that needs improvement. I had several options. I could extend my raised bed areas, I could roto till, or I could enrich the area through a lasagna garden and have a great location for spring planting.

Building the Lasagna Garden

I chose the latter. The first step in creating a lasagna garden is laying out either newspaper or cardboard. Since some cardboard was in need of recycling I started my base layer with the more durable material. This serves two purposes. The cardboard makes a thicker barrier against the existing planting and is less likely to blow away with the high winds we experience on the Great Plains.

Base layer
Cardboard base

After the cardboard was placed whttps://www.econogal.com/wp-admin/options-general.phphere I wanted it, I hosed it down with water. Next I added a two to three-inch layer of lawn clippings. A few days later, I soaked the bed again. Then over the next few weeks I have added compost material from the kitchen as well as material from the garden. If you have prolonged dry spells you will need to soak the lasagna garden manually.

Brown vs. Green

While grass clippings are green and fall into the green category and the cardboard falls into the brown category, it is not the color that determines whether an item is brown or green. The basis for brown or green category is the chemical content. Nitrogen rich products are green compost and carbon rich products are brown. It is important to have a mixture in your compost.

Some of the kitchen scraps included banana and tomato peels as well as other fruit peelings. Eggshells are a great addition but it helps to crush them before adding to the compost. I also like coffee grounds, but with only one coffee drinker in the house, I do not have an abundant source.  I do not place meats or fats into my compost.

Garden materials are items such as leaves and pine needles. The pine needles are very acidic and can alter the PH balance of your soil. At the end of the season plants can be added. But be sure to check for disease or eggs from various pests which are often on the underside of leaves.

I may need to cut through the card board in the spring in order to plant. A lot depends on the winter moisture. However, I think the bed will be enriched from the start.

Lasagna Bed
Compost layers added