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Step-by-step: making vegetable lasagna

Step-by-step: making vegetable lasagna

What a curious appellation that that of "vegetable lasagna"! And above all, what is behind this technique from across the Atlantic? Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a garden with arable and fertile soil. Perhaps you live in the city and have resigned yourself to watching your plants grow in pots? Do you have an interior courtyard and wonder what you could grow there to fill this lost space? Fertilizing ungrateful soil puts you off, you are not a fan of the spade or you lack the strength? Never mind, we can find a thousand reasons to adopt this gardening technique. Vegetable lasagna may give you hope, as long as you have the desire to experiment. The technique is based on a simple principle, of alternating layers of green (nitrogenous) and brown (carbonaceous) matter, all covered with a thin layer of potting soil or compost. Hence the name "lasagna"! This technique can revolutionize the way of considering gardening, even for the most seasoned gardeners. The most surprising is that its formidable effectiveness is due to letting nature take over. Like what the most effective gardening is not necessarily the most physical! Before going into the detail of the realization, let us summarize the main advantages of this technique: - It allows you to make a vegetable garden even on poor, ungrateful, damaged or grassy soils. Practical for example when you have just built a pavilion, and the ground is only clay and stones! - At the end of the season, we have a clean soil - almost stripped -, loosened and nourished. Nature has done its work: the unwanted grasses have been smothered by the upper layers and the roots as well as the micro-organisms - including the precious earthworms -, have worked the layers of vegetable matter until they become a homogeneous soil. and fertile. - It requires very little maintenance, and this is limited to watering the first few times. - It offers plants a substrate of incredible richness which "boosts" their growth. Your vegetables will be bigger and grow faster! Difficulty : easy to medium, depending on where you live Cost : a little time for the recovery of materials Tools required : - watering can Components required : - some flowers and / or vegetables to plant - cardboard and / or old newspapers - green matter: lawn mowing, nettles, comfrey, cut flowers, vegetable peels and residues ... - brown matter: dead leaves , fragmented wood, sawdust, cuts of shrubs, straw, hay, bark, paper and cardboard…

Step 1: Collect the materials


On the return from a car trip, a plastic tarp in the trunk, it is easy to stop at the edge of a wood to recover some dead leaves and twigs. Mown grass, collected on the side of the road will find its place too. These two ingredients constituting the brown matter. For green matter, the grass clippings of the day will provide for this. If you live in the city, it will be more difficult, you will have to be smarter and above all remain courteous. Watch for municipal gardeners and their shears, and don't forget, smile. Go to the park and ask for some size leftovers, and smile. Cemeteries also have their gardeners. Smiling. The recycling center also provides green waste, and pay (well, for some).

Step 1: Prepare the base of the lasagna


There is no need to weed or turn the earth over before building the lasagna. This is one of the many advantages of this technique.
Place your cartons on the ground, and overlap them to prevent unwanted weeds from underneath from breaking through. They will end up suffocated.
The recipe that we follow recommends using newspaper. One may wonder if this is really necessary, especially since the inks of national printers are probably not vegetable. But it's a recipe, let's follow it, newsprint will decompose very quickly anyway. If the wind picks up, wet the boxes and newspapers right away, this will save you from running around to catch them. Otherwise, they will be wet anyway by the abundant sprinkling of lasagna.

Step 3: Start stacking layers


We have just placed carbon on the ground (cardboard and newspapers), it is now the turn of the nitrogenous matter (fresh grass).
The first layer is laid, let us standardize a little of these oak leaves gleaned from the undergrowth. If using fragmented wood or crushed pruning residue, place them now, as they may interfere with surface planting. They will decompose all the more quickly as they are placed in the first floors of the construction.
Second layer of green matter. The successive layers have a thickness varying from 5 to 10 cm. Avoid putting too much turf, as it could overheat the lasagna and cook the surface plantations.
Second layer of brown material. Our lasagna is starting to take shape.
Abundant watering is essential to the success of lasagna. Water each layer!
Third and last layer of green matter and watering.
Here we are at the end of the stack. We end with a layer of well decomposed compost 5 cm thick. It is possible to use BRF, garden compost or to collect it from a recycling center.

Step 4: Plant your vegetables


Vegetables and flowers come into play… Yep, you don't have to wait for the layers of materials to compost before you start planting. This is another undeniable advantage of this technique.
Place the plants according to the space they need, because they will quickly grow and expand. An additional advantage!
We do not plant with bare roots, to reduce the risk of overheating of the roots by a possible "hot stroke" caused by the fermentation of the clippings. Add a little soil in the hole if the root ball is too crumbled.
Take care that the lasagna does not dry out during the first weeks.

Step 5: Maintain your lasagna


The advantages of this technique do not stop there, because the maintenance is minimum and the pleasure maximum. Your only constraint will be limited to regular watering, at least the first weeks, this in order to allow the decomposition process to start permanently. Planting in its final configuration, all that remains is to wait…
Here is the lasagna 5 days later. It has considerably deflated. The zucchini stalk in the foreground exploded, and the tomato stalks quickly grew, while the salads grew. Only the carnations of India, at the top right, seem to have suffered, perhaps from a lack of water… When the vegetative cycle has been completed, you can choose to launch a second lasagna over the first, or use the soil previously enriched and now loosened by decomposition due to microorganisms to plant directly in the ground.