lasagna gardening

Started a December sort of project in July. I’ve on and off thought about expanding the garden but it’s a tough, hot job and I’ve always managed to convince myself to put it off for another day/week/month. But the other day I picked up a book in the library that pushed me over the edge. The book is called Lasagna Gardening. I thought it was a book about growing the ingredients to make vegetable lasagna but instead it described a method of building a garden by layering ingredients over top of a lawn area. No tilling, no shoveling. All it takes is lots of mulch which I have in large quantity and the ability to continue making it in bulk. The first layer is newspaper which is exactly the way I started my new rows last season but in my case I did it to put up a nematode barrier. We subscribe to 3 newspapers so, here again, I have an ample supply at my fingertips. The author says all you do is put a thick layer of soaked newspaper over top of the lawn or field area and then load rough mulch a foot or so thick over the top of the paper. You top that off with a few inches of finer grade compost. Sounds simple and logical to me. I still need to cut a periphery trench in the St Augustine field grass about a foot wide and 6” deep to install concrete cylinders for a low fence. My neighbor has thousands of those 30 pound cylinders that concrete companies pour to test the strength of concrete on each job and we use them to border almost anything that needs a border.

The St. Augustine that I cut out makes great plugs to move to an area of the yard where really nasty weeds have taken over. Now’s the time to do the plugging since the afternoon rains and high heat are exactly what the grass needs to spread rapidly. So it makes sense to take on the garden expansion now instead of December (when it would be cooler) to get the plugs to do the lawn. The last tray of plugs I bought cost $5 and I will glean at least 10 trays worth of new plugs doing the expansion. The last reason to do it now is that I want to lose another 5 pounds and a job like this will take care of that in 3 or 4 days. So it’s a win, win, win project – more garden space, plugs for the lawn, and a quick weight loss. Couldn’t pass it up.

Living on a lake helps too. After I spend 3-4 hours working in the dirt, I’m filthy, sweaty and totally worn out. I just walk to the dock, strip down, and dive in. I climb out 10-15 minutes later totally refreshed and ready for food and a quick nap.

Speaking of the lake, there’s a fair sized dead pine tree about 30′ or so from the dock. I’ve eyed it frequently and run some rough trig calculations in my mind to estimate whether or not it would hit the dock if it blew over. We had a fast moving storm over the weekend which blew hard for a few minutes and answered the question. The top 6′ blew off and hit the deck at the main entrance. Score – deck 1, tree 0. That actually gives me a bit more margin if the whole tree were to come down wrong but I can see there’s another 8-10′ that really looks rotten and the most likely scenario is that section would break off before the whole tree uprooted.

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