So you want to plant a new bed next year…well, now is the time to get it ready. First thing to do is mark the outline of your planned bed with a hose, or string, or some powdered lime. Then you can do one of three things: (1) spray the area with an herbicide and then dig up everything in the spring; (3) rototil the area and add compost and manure (seems the easiest but think of the damage done to earthworms, not to mention all the weed seeds and fungal spores you will bring to the surface to thrive in your garden); or (3) or lasagna gardening, the no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work.
Let me explain what lasagna gardening is and you’ll see why it is the best choice. I am telling you this now because fall is the optimum time of year to make a lasagna garden. It is a method of layering organic materials that break down over time…you are actually composting the bed. This is what makes it so easy. All you have to do is put down three to five layers of newspaper and a layer of compost or at least good loam directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you’ve selected for your bed and then wet this layer down to start the decomposition. In the spring, all you have to do is plant, fertilize, and add mulch – another layer. There is no need to remove grass and weeds, or to double dig the soil, or even to work the soil.
No digging, no weeding! Could you ask for anything easier? Enjoy your new garden bed.
This may not be the best place to post this, but speaking of weeds, one of the RI Master Gardeners brought a weed to my talk this week and asked me to ID it – we said it looked like bind weed, but I was hesitant because the seed pods did not look like bindweed. On the drive home I had a flash of inspiration: I think it’s Ampelamus albidus – Honeyvine Milkweed. Would you pass this on to the group so that the person who brought the sample will get it? THANKS!
And keep up the fight with the weeds: newspaper, mulch, hand pulling… I spent today clearing weeds from my veggie garden.
Thanks, CL. I will pass the information along to the MG in question. I thought it was bindweed, too!
This was my plan for the fall. I was going to spend all winter poring through catalogs to carefully plant a garden in my super rich garden in the spring. Unfortunatly, I got too impatient and decided to buy all my plants now and just dig compost in. I think this method would be easy and effective. I just don’t have the patience!
I can relate. We gardeners are supposed to possess a zen-like patience, but that just isn’t always so!
This is the method I’ve been using. So far, it seems to work great. I started the first bed in the spring and planted last week. I’ve been working on filling the second bed with composting materials so that it will be ready to plant in the spring.
It really is a great method. All it takes is a little time.
Yes, but winter time is easier to deal with when you are waiting…can’t do anything in the garden anyway.
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Thanks for your comment, CL. I’m the MG who brought in the beraggled vine for ID and you had all of 5 secs to look at it before class. Look forward to another class with you in future, fab.
MGs are curious by nature so the next day, Barbara and I researched bindweed and decided that it didn’t match bindweed. So on we proceeded (um, plodding for awhile) and found that Black Swallowwort (Cynanchum louiseae, previously Vincetoxicum nigrum) fit the bill.
Both marauders are vine with opposite leaves but the Black Swallowwort’s (BS) non-heartshaped leaves and pod-like fruits are smaller and it lacks the white veins and long petioles of the Honeyvine Milkweed. (HVM)
The research process was fun and now we know a HVM versus BS – but either one raises a ruckus, that is for sure.
References: http://www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEN/fact/cylo1.htm , http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants and Newcombs Wildflower Guide