Editors note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Offices Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
In an attempt to emulate my mother and her amazing cooking skills, I wanted to duplicate her delicious lasagna. So here it goes:
Soil Lasagna (thanks to the Garden Project for the recipe)
Start by breaking up the top layer of soil when you are putting your garden to rest.
Noodles: six layers of newspaper or one layer of corrugated cardboard moisten.
Sauce: spread 4 to 6 inches of garden compost or soil mix. If you would like to add meat to the sauce, then add no more than 2 inches of animal manure.
Cheese: add 6 inches of mulch (straw, leaf litter or grass clippings) moisten.
If you want to make additional layers of goodies (adding depth to the garden) then stick with the sauce and cheese and forgo the noodles. Let the lasagna cook for three to seven months.
When you are ready to plant, it should smell earthy and fresh; if you still smell the manure then it didnt cook fully. Put it back in the oven. Sometimes the cardboard wont break down completely, so you can either remove it or just cut holes in the area you want to plant.
Soil lasagna, or sheet composting, is a passive system that allows for the process to happen in situ, rather than in a pile.
When we have a normal winter with lots and lots of snow (one can dream), then the process works well. If it is a dry winter, then you may need to occasionally add water to keep it moist.
Darrin Parmenter is horticulture agent for La Plata County Extension.