How to Build a Lasagna Bed





Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener. Creating a lasagna bed will result in soil that is alive with microorganisms, your plants will thrive.

Gardeners everywhere will benefit from this knowledge. Results will be increased yields, fewer weeds and fewer pests.

Requirements: To be able to complete this project all you need is the ability to bend and use a shovel.

The name "lasagna gardening" has nothing to do with what you'll be growing in this garden. It refers to the method of building the garden, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, creating a good soil full of life. The best time to start this garden is in the fall, so it has all winter to break down.

Materials you'll need are: Grass Clippings, Leaves, Fruit and Vegetable Scraps, Coffee Grounds, Tea leaves and tea bags, Weeds (if they haven't gone to seed) Manure, Compost, Seaweed, Shredded newspaper or junk mail, Pine needles, Spent blooms, trimmings from the garden, Peat moss, Cardboard.

One thing for sure, you will love your lasagna bed and what you grow in it!

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Step 1: Step Plan Your Bed

This is an important step, here's here you decide the shape that you want your bed, square or round or whatever, and measure out, and mark your area for it. Previous planning will result in a good end lasagna bed!

Step 2: Prepare the Site

Using a square point shovel take out major bumps, hills and fill in holes to make the site as level as you can. Don’t worry about grass or weeds, these will be covered up and will not pose a problem. Measure our your site and mark the dimensions of your desired bed.

Step 3: Gather the Materials

Look for materials in your own back yard. Leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds and cardboard are a few. What you can't find, you can call and have delivered. Compost, straw and manure are a few.

Step 4: Layering, 1st Layer

Start by putting down a thick layer of cardboard or newspaper. Cardboard will act as a ground cover and keep the weeds from popping up. It will completely decompose and actually add to your soil!~

Step 5: 2nd Layer

Time for the second layer, which consists of water-absorbent materials (these are straw, dried grass clippings, or bark), layer about 2-3 inches thick.

Step 6: 3rd Layer

The third layer is4 to 8 inches of organic materials. You need to build your layers with organic materials like grass clippings and compost as this is the layer that increases the productivity of your lasagna garden.

Step 7: Water

Sprinkle some water over the last layer.This will assist in the breakdown of the materials you used.

Step 8: Subsquent Layers

If you're lasagna bed isn't the height that you need, continue to layer, repeating layers 1-3 till it's the height you need.

Step 9: Paths

If you decide to have more than one lasagna bed then I'd suggest making a nice path between them. First line your path with newspaper or cardboard, then get some bark chips. I like the free ones that landscape companies deliver, they're big and coarse and work well. Shovel the bark chips into the paths, do it pretty deep, I'd say 4-5 inches will keep your path dry and free of mud.

Step 10: Covercrop

When your finished layering and the bed is the height you want, plant a cover crop in your bed. This can be crimson clover, or rye, something that overwinters well.

Step 11: Wait

Now wait till spring. This gives your lasagna bed time to decompose all winter and let the microbes do their job of making rich soil

Step 12: Spring Planting

In May your new bed will be ready for planting!

Step 13: Putting Your Lasagna Bed to Sleep for the Winter

After harvesting your crops from your lasagne bed be sure to put it away for the winter. Pile all your crop residue on top of your bed, turn it under the soil and plant a cover crop. Then next spring your lasagne bed will be ready for your next crop.

Step 14: Cautions

Cautions: Make sure you start with a level surface. If your surface is in anyway unlevel you could have runoff and erosion in your bed. Wear gloves to prevent blisters.

Step 15: Enjoy Your Lasagna Bed

The best part is eating all the wonderful yummy organic veggies from your lasagna bed!



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14 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

It sounds a bit on the hard side. Wouldn't be more easy if you just plant as usual only using a good compost and fertilizer?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

can do that as well, but it is a choice.
I have done lasagna beds, but not really as rigid as often described as one may not have enough foodscraps at one specific moment to put on an entire layer. Also, I dont have any missing item delivered. If It is not coming out of my garden (or someone elses) I dont go buy it. If it happens to be time for te straw and leaves and i just happen to have manure, that goes on. Usually though I dont aim to have it ready within no time. Usually I begin a bed like that and just throw on stuff when I have.
Gives good results, but indeed so does Mel's mix, good compost and fertilizer and a Huegel culture.
For me it is just a cheap way to fill a bed :-)


4 years ago on Introduction

I wouldn't try it in a plastic box, the soil needs to have access to the ground below so it doesn't get anaerobic. It needs to be able to be rained on and drain. In Oregon it rots down really well all winter but we don't get severe cold freezing winters. If you live where it's really cold in the winter than I'd start this in the summer and not plant anything till the following summer.


4 years ago on Introduction

Is this something I can do in a plastic box? I won't be able to get manure, but I can use veggie parts, grass clippings, and similar such things. I intend to raise it off the ground as I have a pair of angry knees that just refuse to agree with me far too often. I do not want to create a stinky mess as my neighbors are kind to an old coot and do not deserve that. I am hopeful I will get some good advice on this. Thanks for sharing this, I like it.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Depending on what organic matter you use, you might still be able to get the smell ...



4 years ago on Introduction

Nice work. I'm using a variation on your idea to grow a no-till garden on a former tilled garden. It is un-printed newspaper covered by straw. So far so good.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Size doesn't matter much. The key to doing this is it needs as much time as possible to break down the composting material in it, before it is used as soil to grow anything.

It needs to stay damp and breaks down much slower over the winter, practically no break down below freezing. It would be better to build one spring then wait until the next spring to use it.

Also there is no particular reason to layer the soil like this, since things added can be stirred together with a shovel much easier than tilling up established/compacted lawn soil.

Just be sure to put a layer of topsoil over it all to hold more moisture in or else it will take much longer to compost, but leave it loose so some air can get to it too.


4 years ago

I'm so going to start this right away. I have a spot on the side of my home that doesn't get lots of direct sun light it has a water source and a catchment barrel and I can secure it from pets.

I will build up the bed frame by harvesting local rocks from exposed hill faces.


4 years ago

thanks a lot for this explanatory instructable. it is just what i needed!!! i think ill give it a try this year:)


4 years ago on Introduction

Try it you'll really like the soil that you get from it. Anything will grow in it, and grow well.


4 years ago on Introduction

I've never heard of this before. I always use a rototiller every year and often times, it's really not fun at all. Great idea, I might try it this year!