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lee53011

kind of a lasagna bed picture

lee53011
16 years ago

Thought some might be interested in my ready to plant lasagna bed. Didn't have time to do it in fall when it should have been done, so had to modify it a bit. I used a sod cutter to cut out the sod, then I used cardboard on the bottom and soaked it good. I then put the sod back in grass side down. I added whatever compost, green vegetable scraps, coffee grounds etc. on top of that and soaked it good. Then added a six inch layer of woodchips on top of everything. I plan to add about a bucket of soil to each planting hole as I plant in it, and also add a bunch more nitrogen. This flower bed is about 61 feet long by 15 feet wide. I also have a ten foot circle around a crab apple tree, and a 25 foot by 8 foot one elswhere. I will need to move a lot of seedlings and established perennials around to fill them!!! If you have extra just set them by my door!!



Thanks,

Lee

Comments (25)

  • putzer
    16 years ago

    Hmmm-I replied to this last night and it didn't show up-I must have been more tired than I thought!

    This will be beautiful-make sure you continue to post pictures along the way so we can watch the progression! It's hard work, but isn't it a kick?

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Putzer,
    Lots of work!! It would have been much easier in the fall, I wouldn't have had to cut the sod and flip it. I will post pics when I start planting and as the stuff grows. This will be a tropical garden. So far I have basjoo banana trees, cannas, elephant ears, and not sure what else to put in. Any suggetions? The bananas will stay in all year, they are hardy to -20. Would like to find more tropical looking annuals or perennials. Bulbs are kind of a pain digging up every year but what can you do.

    Lee

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  • tootswisc
    16 years ago

    Your tropical bed interest's me since we are in wisconsin. I am amazed when I spend time in downtown Chicago and see tropical planters. I wonder how much money it costs to have something like that at my house. I am not looking for more work however. I am trying to incorporate houseplants into my gardens-since I have to water them anyway. I was wondering how a parlor palm would do in a flower bed. I will look forward to your pictures!

  • turquoise
    16 years ago

    Oh my gosh, another tropical gardener here in WI! I am just getting started with mine and have many of the same plants.

    I have 7 musa basjoo, 35 canna (wow, that sounds like a lot all of a sudden- Pretoria, Scarlett's Rib and a bronze leafed kind that I'm not sure of the name). I just bought a big beautiful red caladium today and an elephant ear bulb.

    I'm also doing a few vines- crimson climber has palm-like leaves and bright red flowers; madagascar jasmine (because I just can't resist!) and moonflower.

    Some ideas for you might be a hardy hibiscus, I have three on the way, they are completely hardy to our zone. Ornamental grasses can be good, I'm using Zebra Grass, which is also hardy. Poker lilies look kind of tropical and are hardy too (wait, I think they are!).

    I love sunflowers, so I'm adding Mexican Sunflowers to my tropical bed. New Guinea impatiens look very tropical, I bought some beautiful salmon ones today with striped leaves (although they can't quite go out yet of course). I'm also growing coleus- Limelight and Black Dragon. I had a ton of hostas in my yard and I think they'll fit right in too! I have ostrich ferns for the shadier areas.

    Wow, I'm just blabbering on! I'm just glad to meet someone else up to the same thing. I can't wait to watch your progress and I'll be sure to post some photos too!

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I also bought an elephant ear bulb from Walmart. And 4 taro roots, 3 black magic elephant plants, and a borneo giant plant. Also plan on planting some tithonia, castor bean plant, and crocosmia 'lucifer'. And I wintersowed hardy red hibiscus so I have like 50 of them!! And I just remembered Some black currant datura that I wintersowed also. Sounds like a lot but I am sure I will still need more. Hmmm, my wife has a bunch of bird of paradise, but if I swipe them I think I might end up single!!

    Lee

  • sandylovesflowers
    16 years ago

    Lee, Love what you are doing! I am planning out a new bed, as well. I do have one question..... are you a bit concerned with the grass that you placed back in, upside down? Do you think that it could actually start growing back?!?! Just wondering.....

    Would love to see the bed this Summer!

    Thanks!

    Sandy

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Sandy,
    The grass should rot along with the cardboard, especially under about 6" of woodchips and alot of coffee grounds. Also added about 2" of rabbit manure, so everything should compost really well. The cardboard has already started to decompose and when I dug up some of the grass to check on it, it was yellow and rotting. When I took the picture I left parts exposed just to show some of the layers. All parts are now covered with complete layers. If any grass does survive I will use roundup where needed, or just pull it.

    Lee

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Here is a new picture of the same bed taken recently. Everything has worked out pretty well, other than a late frost that almost got me!!



    Lee

  • Kat SE Wisconsin z5
    16 years ago

    Wow Lee, that is really huge! It must have really been a big job. I have 3 lasagna beds, but they aren't anywhere near the size of yours...even together I don't think they are. Great job! I hope you'll show us some more pics as the summer goes on.

    Kat

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Kat,
    This is the biggest of three. I went through 63 refrigerator boxes, 23 van loads of rabbit manure, couple hundred pounds of coffee grounds, I don't know how many wheel barrow loads of compost, and another 30 or so van loads of wood chips!! I had planned to do it last fall, but herniated a disk in September and was pretty limited until around January. All better now though!! Hopefully it will be o.k. at least until I get my stone wall built in the back yard!!

    Lee

  • tootswisc
    16 years ago

    Lee,
    Stone wall and herniated disc...yikes. I have back problems right now from doing spring clean up. Now that summer is here I guess I should consider this done!

    What a beautiful yard. It looks like a park.

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Thanks Tootswisc! It's just about an acre and a half. Looked for almost a year at houses and finally found my dream house. Once I get all the perennials in and the wall built I should be able to slow down and just do weeding!! What a thought, to look forward to weeding! I just started using organic fertilizer, since I have a river in the back yard don't want to use chemicals. Hopefully alfalfa meal works well as a fertilizer. That and starbucks coffee and rabbit manure.

    Lee

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Well here it is about a month later and not really any complaints other than canna's seem really slow to get going. One of the banana's has a pup now. Looking back I should have sandwiched the sod between two layers of cardboard to save some weeding, but after the initial week or so of weeding I really have little or no weeds anymore. Here is a current picture:



    Thanks,
    Lee

  • barton
    16 years ago

    You said your cannas were slow to get going. I use tons of wood chips too, although I'm told that they take forever to decompose, and use a lot of nitrogen while they are doing it. You did say you were adding extra nitrogen. Cannas are really heavy feeders.

    I even mulched my LAWN with wood chips, no kidding. I'd scatter it, then after a week or so I'd rake up the big chunks and relocate them to the paths. The soil here is so bad that the grass wouldn't grow enough to even hold the clay without washing out. I had no choice because I can't afford that much "store bought" soil. But I do notice that the grass doesn't green up as well even though the rain soaks in and doesn't run off. I have added ammonium nitrate which I have never done before. I hope in the long run it will help.

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    It is now August 3rd and the heat is really helping the bananas, elephant ears, and cannas. The bannanas have a total of 7 new pups(baby plants) growing at the base. The caladiums under the pine tree are finally coming up!! NOt sure I will replant those next year. They seem to take forever and alot of the bulbs don't seem to be coming up at all.
    Barton, I planted alot of the cannas from seed. That and we had frost in June, so it makes for a short growing season. I am hoping they bloom this year. The ones from seed actually are doing better than the ones from tubers. The good thing about lasagna beds are that they will get better for the next couple years, soil wise, as more stuff breaks down.

    {{gwi:153978}}

    Thanks,
    Lee

  • aka_margo
    16 years ago

    Hey Lee,
    Thanks for the great posting. You sparked my interest and when I was at the library yesterday checked out a book about lasagne beds.
    Jen

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    aka_margo,
    Thanks! Also check out the composting forum and the organic forum in gardenweb. Great ideas and always a ready answer for any questions.

    Lee

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Here is another update. The cannas are blooming and everything is great.



    Thanks,
    Lee

  • janet_w
    16 years ago

    Lee I love your flowerbeds. I printed out your email and will try to get started on doing my first lasagna bed real soon.
    On your next bed that you do please post each step of the process.
    Thank you
    Janet

  • lee53011
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Thanks Marilyn. There are probably a thousand pounds of Starbucks coffee grounds in there by now. The dried grounds that they have makes it real easy to spread right over the wood chips. Besides what I used when I made the bed(pun intended!), I also add 30 or 40 pounds a week spread over the top.

    Lee

  • led_zep_rules
    16 years ago

    I am confused about the banana plants. I assume you can't actually get any bananas to ripen here?!? I do lasagna beds in my vegie gardens, but I grow more ordinary things. The most exotic things I grow are probably the tomatillos. I am lazier than you. :-)

    Marcia

  • franktank232
    15 years ago

    Lee-

    How did you protect your Basjoo's for winter? Your garden looks great. I also like to use woodchips and cardboard!

  • mgmb
    15 years ago

    Lee - very inspiring! I was hoping to do a lasagna bed for a tropical garden this year so excited to stumble onto this post! I am happy to hear that it can be done the same spring as planting. I am wintersowing and indoor sowing most of my plants, including castor bean 'carmencita,', love-lies-bleeding and a green form of the same, elephant ears, red dahlias (Bishop of L. and Arabian Night), perilla, scarlet chard, lime green nicotiana and red nasturtiums with tall verbena throughout, and cardinal climber and hyacinth bean on a pergola in the middle. I guess this is a lot more red than "they" say you should do, but I hope all the green and dark leaves calms it down. I'm hoping it will be a big hummingbird magnet. After seeing yours I think I'll leave some space for bananas from the guy at the farmer's market with all the tropicals. I have a question: did you space them so they would eventually fill in all the ground or was there still space in between at the end of the summer? I like the jammed look but I know these plants probably need more fertilizer and water than my hardy perennials.

  • toffee-el
    11 years ago

    Sorry for digging up such an old thread. I am really curious how this lasagna developed over the years.

    Any updates?

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