The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Anyone done Instant Bed lasagna beds?

Anyone done Instant Bed lasagna beds?

zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 2
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I am new to permaculture and have been researching different gardening techniques, that are, werll, quick and relatively easy. I read about a simple lasagna bed type of veggie/flower bed making that goers like this:

1. Plot out where you want to place your lasagna beds, with a space between them similar to the width and length of the actual beds.

2. Place cardboard over the area of the bed

3. Dig the path area down about 6 inches and flip the grass from the paths onto the cardboard, grass down

4. Place compost or manure on top of the flipped over grass and voila!

This makes instant raised beds and, for those, like me, who might find it difficult to acquire the straw, etc for more traditional lasagna beds, it sounds good.

Has anyone tried this technique? If so, would a sod cutter work effectively for this kind of lasagna bed?

I could add a couple layers to it if I could get enough *browns*. That's my problem. I get next to no leaves to use as browns. I may put a sign out at the road asking for people's yard leaves, but am a little worried as to what people might actually leave for me...
David Homa
PostCarbonDesign
Oxford, ME
Post #: 256
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Permaculture...working with nature...so patience is important.

As a no digger, I would side against the sod cutter, plus the fossil fuels used...
!Energy Descent!

You could establish regular raised beds for immediate use, and at the same time prepare sheetmulched beds and wait for them to be prepared enough for planting...
last year I sheeted out a large area and this year it will be planted in extensively.
Lisa, any comments?
Sue McCormick
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 13
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When I moved into my house and had over 100 perennials to get planted pronto, I did a modified version of sheet mulching, only I didn't know that was what it was. I mowed the lawn, put down thick layers of wet newspapers, and covered that with whatever I could find, old leaves, some compost I had brought with me. Then I cut holes in that and planted things. It worked really well. I would advise against lifting any of the sod. It really disturbs the soil structure. I found that out by experience the next summer when I was in a hurry and dug a bed. Not the same at all as the ones I had done with the wet newspaper method, even tho I really didn't have very deep layers of compost over them.
Sue
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 5
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While I can get coffee grounds with ease, I will have to buy in compost and leaves, etc. For me, the whole thing is efficacy of creating raised beds and such. With several thousand plants to go in, I am just trying to figure out the best way to do so. My soil is relatively difficult to dig, so amendments will be needed. This land was at one time used for traditional farming, but was apparently abused and the soil structure has been seriously impacted already, by being compressed by heavy farm equipment. I would love to be able to create planting beds of this size without the use of light equipment to carry the compost, etc, and without tilling or some other method of soil amending, and do so in a reasonable time.

Please tell me how I can do this and keep it relatively low maintenance. This is for about 1500 square feet of new vegetable and herb garden to be added to my 1000 square foot vegetable garden with an average of a half day available each week, plus 30-60 minutes each day. The other days I work. I was planning on spending 1 or 2 days work preparing the new beds and just planting and light weeding thereafter.
David Homa
PostCarbonDesign
Oxford, ME
Post #: 258
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This was one of the first sites I referenced when I started sheetmulching...

http://www.agroforest...­
Lisa Fernandes
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 225
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I would agree with Sue and Dave in terms of avoiding lifting the sod. The lion's share of your beneficial soil biota are in those top few centimeters and the more you can avoid disturbing them, the better - even in the paths. So...

For the planting beds, yes, you're on the right track. You want to layer in whatever organic materials you can get your hands on that make a good mix. While it's ideal to do this the fall previous to spring planting, you can also build them for instant planting with the addition of some more compost/loam in the top layer. Unfortunately, unless you've stockpiled materials, you might have to haul some in for the first year or two, but after that you can probably meet most of your needs from your own property, more or less, for keeping these beds maintained.

I recommend spreading as much seaweed and aged manure (horse, cow, etc....just not "hot" chicken manure) directly on the grass where you'll be planting - both free, you just have to haul them in. Then broadcast some azomite (only for the first couple of years) to get your trace nutrients going in the right direction. Not sustainable long-term, but you're getting things established right! Then whatever else you can gather for leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc. I would TOP the whole thing with thick layers of wet newspaper (weed block, avoid colored glossy sections) then mulch over the top. Straw is best (again, an investment for the first couple of years til you have your own mulching materials on site) because it's relatively weed-free if you get good stuff. Hay has lots of weeds seeds. Leaves are good too. Some people mulch with lots of pine needles and/or more seaweed but you'll find what works for you. A few months later, presto..you plant through the newspaper into the most beautiful black gold. If you need to plant right away, however, do a few inches of compost/loam just under the newspaper and plant things like lettuces, flowers, tomoatoes, etc....not root crops per se until following years.

For the paths, just lay down your cardboard, overlapping all the pieces, and mulch with a very thick layer of free wood chips from your local tree person or saw dust. You may have to remulch the paths ever year for the first couple...only make the paths as wide as you truly need for travel and maximize your growing space instead.

The first couple of years are the most work with sheet mulching, but it's soooo worth it. Only a "maintenance" level of work in subsequent years. Try to get your hands on a copy of "Gaia's Garden" and check out the sheet mulching section. There's no "one right way" to do this, but this book will inspire your sheet mulching efforts!
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 7
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So basically, what sheet mulching suggests is that I do what I was planning on doing, but NOT till the soil or flip the sod?

It seems to use a similar amount of materials, but less prep as no tilling or sod cutting is necessary. Hmmm...less work this way.

To make it a bit *thicker* I can actually add a couple layers to the bed, correct? Since I'll be getting plenty of coffee grounds, and will likely also get some straw, I could add a layer of each of these before putting paper and compost in.

I do like less work! :)

Thnaks.
Lisa Fernandes
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 226
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Oh - I should add that I was talking to one of our local farmers and they haul in seaweed and top dress their mulched beds with it as a slug deterrant! Straw mulch is slug heaven, so this is good news.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 11
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Lisa, I wonder if the seaweed can be used in potato towers to repel slugs from those?

What are your thoughts on that?
Lisa Fernandes
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 229
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I don't see why not. On a large scale it's a ton of work to haul and spread (i.e. fossil fuels tranportation, etc.) but if clean seaweed can deter slugs AND be a great soil amendment as it breaks down over time, I don't really see the downside. It has to be harvested responsibly, like anything.
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