What is this new mess in the garden?! Lasagna?! It has to be permaculture!
RVA is now in the process of changing our organic garden according to permaculture principles. Our expert – Luke – comes twice a month to instruct and help us with this process. Lately, we’ve been building raised beds, lasagna style!
What exactly does it mean? Do we grow tomatoes and pasta? Erm, not so much. The name is associated with the structure of the beds, where various layers of organic material are interspersed to create a living, healthy and organic base for the plants.
Our building of lasagna beds was connected to a little cleaning in the garden, serving two purposes at the same time! First we measured the area and bordered it with sticks. Then we layered unused bamboo and glorisidia sticks, left over from building nursery beds for the Treelympics. Those we covered first with cardboard and old newspapers (but not the glossy ones with plastic!), which will prevent any leftover weeds from growing and will decompose with time, followed by a layer of mulch – we use glorisidia branches for better fertilizing. The final layer is made of compost and soil. The whole structures were generously soaked with water and will be ready to plant soon.
So, why do this? First of all, raised beds are really important in countries with heavy rainfall, where excess water often floods the backyard gardens (I know I wish I’d known how to make this type of bed before going to Belize!). But these beds are also alive. Built entirely of organic material (and no digging!) which slowly decomposts, they let us re-use things we would surely trash (maybe even burn). The soil is looser and the aeration better; it’s also easier for the roots to penetrate. The top layers of compost let our new plants get all the nutrients they need, while the lower layers decompose slowly, creating a long-term fertilizing layer. Raised lasagna beds ar egood for the environment and for the plants. Good luck building your own!
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