We recently moved to our new home with the intention of turning the lawn into a fully self-sustainable foodscape with bare minimum resources (time & money) to spare. We came to realize that lands in residential units are extremely difficult to work with and this plot of land we have gotten our hands on seem to be all the more impossible as it is filled with rocks of all sizes. Digging it up seemed like too much of a chore, so we have decided to give Lasagna Gardening a go.
Several reasons as to why we chose to experiment with Lasagna Gardening: –
- Time efficient
- Minimal effort
- Weed problem non-existent
- Clay-heavy soil not ideal for vegetable roots
- Piling on top of existing soil would improve structure and quality over time
So, with some ass kicking from the missus – we drove around scavenging for materials to build two 5ft x 3ft raised bed.
Sand & Gravel was used to lay out the path, topped with Lalang that we de-weeded. Then the best part – adding layers into the raised bed!
First, we layered the ground with cardbox (which decomposes overtime) to suppress weed growth. For better suppression, we have added 1 inch of newspaper lined up along the sides of the plywood. Water it down.
A good 2-inch layer will ensure that no weed will be able to penetrate it for a long while. We have yet to have any weed sprout up aside from the occasional Lalang.
Then we added 4 inches of dried leaves & twigs that we collected from municipal bags (you can usually find them by the roadside). Pelleted chicken manure was added as a source of nitrogen. Water down.
Next, we have gotten several bags of vegetables and fruits meant to be thrown away from a market nearby. Layered in a good 2 inches of it, and finally topped up with more leaves and some soil.
In order to reach a desired height (similar level as the plywood considering that the bed will shrink a WHOLE lot over time) another 3 – 4 inches of leaves were topped up.
Now, it could be suggestible to wait for several months to allow the bed to cook allowing you to plant directly in it, but we couldn’t wait that long. So, we simply spread the layers apart slightly, added soil in it and sowed seeds immediately – the result was nothing short from satisfying!
Bed #1 – 30 day mark.
Tremendous growth from Amaranth which pleased us. We’re complete newbies when it comes to gardening, hence the mess you see in the bed. There’s an Okra plant between the amaranth, Gai Lans growing at the front side of it, Marigolds at each corner of the bed and an Eggplant at the far corner of it (how it got there, i have no idea). With better planning and better understanding of the plants, it can be improved a whole lot.
2 Months into it, the bed has shrunken a good 4inches. While the top layer looks all the same, to our pleasant surprise, everything has been happening underneath! Sticking a finger in, we find that the bottom layer has been composting slowly, but surely. No fertilizers were required thus far!
The best part of it all, the entire ordeal only took us ~3 days, and cost us approximately RM50 all in (seeds, soil, materials for bed). An absolutely gratifying experience.