- Mixing compost and manure into the soil
- Killing the amazing and hard-working earthworms
- Breaking up surface compaction and large soil clods
- Creating a layer of sub-surface compaction
- Reducing levels of beneficial soil organic matter in the soil
- Helping weed seeds germinate
- Killing weeds
- Creating bare soil and increasing erosion rates
- Terminating and incorporating cover crops
- Reducing beneficial plant-mycorrhizal associations
- Having Rototiller races
Leaving plant residue on the surface of the soil, adding mulch, and reducing disturbance (i.e. tillage) will greatly improve your soil health and garden health over time.
Try building a lasagna garden, a straw bale garden, a pallet garden, or raised beds.
- Layer large quantities of organic materials on top of the soil
- Add water
Images courtesy of Home Grown Food Colorado
Cardboard and newspaper can be used as a biodegradable weed or grass barrier. As you layer the organic materials on top of the soil (and cardboard), be sure to alternate the "green" and "brown" layers to aid in decomposition. The bacteria and fungi responsible for decomposing the raw materials need a balanced diet of proteins and carbohydrates.
- Brown materials: leaves, straw, shredded paper, sawdust, woodchips, etc...
- Green materials: manure, grass clippings, vegetable waste, coffee grounds, alfalfa, etc...
- Balanced materials: compost
A note about grass clippings:
When using grass clippings in a lasagna bed, be sure not to layer them too thick or they will create a slimy anaerobic zone that is slow to decompose. It works best to use very thin layers, or mix with leaves. Also, make sure that the grass or straw you are using has not been sprayed with one of the persistent herbicides.
There are many ways to build a lasagna garden, as long as you follow the basic process, add plenty of water, and give it enough time to decompose before planting. If you are direct seeding instead of transplanting, consider a layer of potting soil or fine compost on the top to ensure good seed to soil contact.
Other Blog Posts:
Old World Garden Farms
Home Grown Food Colorado
Lasagna Gardening How To by GardenFork TV
No Dig Garden Construction by Myk Rushton