Lasagna Gardening

So you want to garden but you have the absolute worst soil in the world. Or you want to put a garden where there is a thick layer of sod. Or you just don’t want to do all that digging and weeding and rototilling. There is a way that is not only earth friendly, organic, and incredibly easy, but will allow you to put in a garden with less time and less work that traditional methods. It’s called lasagna gardening because it involves layering organic materials, starting with wet newspapers, right on top of the soil and planting in that. But first, before you put down your layers, you need to take a look around your property. Check to see where you have the best light, and put your garden there. Make a list of materials, this will vary depending on what you have available in your area. Some suggestions are newspapers, cardboard boxes, peat moss, wood ashes, wood chips, compost, grass clippings, leaves, rotted barn litter, old hay, horse manure, sand, seaweed, ground corn stalks, apple pulp, or any bags of soil amendments that can be bought at the garden center. There’s no hard and fast rules for your layers as long as it’s organic and doesn’t contain any protein (fat,meat or bone). Gather these from your own yard, collect donations from neighbors, and buy more at the  nursery and home center. First, don’t remove the sod or do any extra work, like removing weeds or rocks. Mark off your garden area with stakes and string,  or just use a garden hose. Cover the area that you’ve marked with wet newspaper, overlapping the edges to keep weeds from sneaking through. Remove the color-print advertising part and use the rest of the paper. Then just start layering, a good formula (but not the only one) is to put one inch of peat moss on the newspapers, then two inches of barn litter, then some more peat moss, then one or two inches of grass clippings, two inches of peat moss, two inches of compost. Keep layering whatever you have until you end up with 6 to 8 inches to plant in. That’s it!

After  you plant your seedlings or the seeds you have sown are up, you’ll need to mulch really well to maintain the moisture in your lasagna garden. Some people do their layering in the fall and let everything rot and the worms do the mixing all winter. Some folks have just as good success making the beds in the spring. To make a planting hole, pull the layers apart with your hands, set the plant in the hole, pull the mulch back around the roots, and water it thoroughly. To sow seeds in a newly built lasagna garden, spread fine compost or potting soil where the seeds are to go, then set the seed on the surface. Sift more fine material over the seeds and press down to firm the bed. The only thing left to do is water, and maybe hang a ‘For Sale’ sign on the rototiller.....

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Leaffolders

They are moths that are black with with white spots and sometimes whites stripes depending on the species. Their larvae do the most damage and are very small caterpillars, clear and are pale green because of the leaves they eat. There are several different types of leaffolder each eating only one type of plant. Pupae are long bronze to brown colored and the eggs are clear.

These are found everywhere in North America. They overwinter as pupae in the soil, emerge in spring and lay their eggs on host plants. After hatching the larvae feed on the leaves and roll themselves in edges of them and continue to feed. If disturbed they will drop to the ground on a silken thread. Once the larvae has completed feeding he pupates in the protection of the folded leaf. They can have as many as 3 cycles per year. They attack lilacs, grapes, rice and other farm crops. They eat the leaves and also damage the leaves of plants by folding them over (not to be confused with leafrollers). Plants will defoliate and eventually die.

Control

1) Hand Pick

If you have had leaffolder damage in the past dig around the soil in the fall and pick out the pupae. Destroy the adult moths when you see them.If you see rolled leaves pinch them off and drop them in hot soapy water. Eggs can be removed with a moistened cotton swab.

2) Bt

An early spray of Bt in the first cycle of larvae will help control them and ensure no second or third generation.

3) Beneficial Insects

Parasitic flies, parasitic wasps, lacewings, small groundbeetles (they are red with a black stripe) and crab spiders help control the larvae population. Birds will eat adult moths.

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Companion planting tip

Surround cabbages with white-flowering plants to prevent cabbage moth damage. Cabbage does well if planted with bean, beet, chamomile, dill, hyssop, mint, nasturtium, onion potato, sage and rosemary. But is hindered by grape, strawberry, tomato and thyme.

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Field Bindweed

this is basically a obnoxious weed and if allowed into the garden will be difficult to control and almost impossible to eradicate. But it does have some medicinal uses so I have included it. May be propagated from stolons and should be planted in full sun. Also called lesser or pink bindweed, cornbine and devils guts.

Coriander

Sow in the garden in autumn or spring, in well-drained soil with a little lime. Protect the brittle stems from wind. Plant usually self sow freely. Also called cilantro.

Lemon grass

divide clumps and plant offsets in rich soil in a warm sunny site sheltered form cold winds. Also called oil grass, takrai and serch.

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Pour salt onto grass that grows in the cracks of cement to kill it  

Have a cricket in your house?? Place a wet washrag in your kitchen or bathroom sink at night and in the morning the cricket will be there

If you've planted in the ground and frosty weather threatens, you can cover individual seedlings with a paper cone (hot cap), a plastic milk jug with the bottom cut out, or even an inverted jar.

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Brandie

“Garden: One of a vast number of free outdoor restaurants operated by charity-minded amateurs in an effort to provide healthful, balanced meals for insects, birds and animals.”

 

 
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