Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Want to get a jump on Spring this Fall?

CFN – Can you believe that the official start of fall is just around the corner?  Time sure does fly.  There is still time to plant some trees (that you never got around to this past spring) and perennials to add that splash of colour for next spring and summer.  Oh yes…and don’t forget those flower bulbs.  Those bright flashes of colour peeping through the ground after a cold winter will certainly coax a smile from your family and friends.

Many stores that carry seasonal items such as trees, bulbs, perennials and such, often offer great fall bargains as they discount their items as we head into fall.  A great opportunity to pick up healthy stock at great savings.  If you would additionally like to expand your flower or vegetable garden for next year, preparation can begin right now.  A very simple method of preparation to consider is “the lasagna” method.  This is a “no till” way of preparing your new or expanded garden bed for your flowers or vegetables.

The Lasagna method, or “sheet composting” method of bed preparation mimics nature.  This is accomplished by layering a variety of organic material such as newspaper, leaves, kitchen scraps and grass clippings.  This no-dig, no-till method results in a hospitable environment for your new plants with very little work required by you.  How great is that?  You are essentially composting in place by alternating layers of nitrogen rich (green, un-composted plant material) layers with carbon rich (brown, soil, dried grass clippings, hay, straw, dead leaves, manure) layers which maintains a nitrogen-carbon balance which encourages fast, odour free decomposition.

Removing sod to begin a garden is a lot of work and essentially unnecessary.  The first layer in a grassy plot will begin with laying a few layers of newspaper or a sheet of corrugated cardboard directly on top of the sod.  Wet this layer down to keep it in place and begin the layering process, alternating between green and brown layers.  This bed will end up being one to two feet high.  This will suffocate the grass and weeds, encourage the decomposition of this green layer, and provide a wonderful habitat which will encourage earth worms to take up residence.  Worms, a gardener’s best friend, will happily aerate, compost and fertilize the beds our plants will flourish in.  Beginning this process now will mean you will have a wonderful, nutrient rich bed for your plants to flourish in, come spring time.

I did some experiments with plantings in containers and beds this past summer.  The bed plantings (which were done incorporating the lasagna method) produced healthier plants which required less attention, specifically when it came to watering.  This was certainly expected as the soil of the potted plants has more exposure to the surrounding air temperature due to the container.  As these containers were placed directly on the soil around the back patio, these containers will be replaced with a new lasagna bed this fall in preparation for next spring’s plants.

So if you want to get a jump on things this fall, try your hand at some lasagna gardening.  More information can be obtained at the following link.
A wonderful, easy, do-it-yourself project for home, school or work which invites health and nutrition into ones life.

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