How to Create a Lasagna Garden

Sheet Composting Tips and Strategies

Man and boy working in soil
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Lasagna gardening (or sheet composting) is an efficient, easy method for making a new garden bed. To make a lasagna garden, organic matter is added in layers (hence the term "lasagna garden," coined by garden writer Patricia Lanza in her great book on the subject) wherever you want a new garden bed. The layers break down over time, and you are left with a nutrient-rich, fluffy soil in which to grow your flowers, herbs or vegetables.

The best way to build a lasagna garden is to alternate layers of "brown" (carbon-rich) materials with "green" (nitrogen-rich) materials.

Here are some of the best items to put in your lasagna garden, organized by "greens" and "browns":

"Greens" for the Lasagna Garden

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Grass clippings
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, tea leaves
  • Seaweed
  • Weeds that haven't set seed
  • Trimmings and deadheads from the garden

"Browns" for the Lasagna Garden

  • Shredded paper, newspaper
  • Pine needles
  • Straw
  • Peat moss
  • Fall leaves

It's best to start your lasagna garden with a layer of newspaper at least three sheets thick, moistened so it doesn't blow away. Cover that with peat moss, compost, or manure, then start stacking your other organic materials over that. If you want to plant right away, be sure to add in several layers of compost or peat. If you're building your lasagna garden in fall for spring planting, then this doesn't matter as much because the organic matter in the garden will have plenty of time to break down over the winter, and it will be perfect to plant in.