Organic Home Gardening Series: 10 Basic Steps To Start Sheet Composting

This is an eco-friendly, organic method known as “sheet composting” which allows you to grow your food organically without digging or tilling up soil. If I’ve piqued your interest, allow me tell you more about this organic gardening method and how to start it in just 10 basic steps.

Tools you may need:


Gardening Hose

Newspaper, Cardboard, or Burlap Sacks

Wheel Barrel or Bucket (for carrying organic material)

Gardening Shovel

Step 1: Choose a location.

Try choosing a sun-lit area for your lasagna garden. You can mark your area of choice using lines and stakes.

Step 2: Water the area.

Soak the designated area with a garden hose so that the ground is pre-soaked before you begin the next step.

Step 3: Lay down first layer.

For your first layer, place newspaper down flat, covering the entire garden area. Next, wet the newspaper using the garden hose. Then, place cardboard entirely over the newspaper and wet the cardboard thoroughly. Make sure all tape and plastic is completely removed from the cardboard. Some people have chosen to use burlap sacks instead of cardboard.

Step 4: Lay down second layer.

The second layer will be the brown layer, which will be about 3-6 inches thick. With this layer, shovel on things such as topsoil, peat moss, manure, old dry leaves, and pine needles.

Step 5: Lay down third layer.

This layer will be your green layer. On top of the cardboard, shovel on things like leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, green waste and vegetable scraps. Do not use bones or meat scraps. This layer will be about 3-6 inches thick as well.

Step 6: Repeat brown and green Layers.

Repeat the brown and green layering until the area reaches to about two feet high. While doing this, try keeping the brown layer about 2 inches thicker than the green layer.

Step 7: Add the last layer.

The last layer will consist of straw or hay. You will want to lay down the hay and straw thinly, so that you can plant through the hay.

Step 8: Plant your seeds.

Plant your seeds through the last layer, keeping in mind the correct amount of spacing and plant combinations.

Step 9: Water.

Water the area, and then continue watering daily as required.

Step 10: Wait.

Wait for your lasagna garden to grow. It is always a good idea to test the soil for adequate pH levels and nutrients, while checking for any changes as well.

This is just one way to start sheet composting, but there are definitely many other ways that this can be done. Some people start planting seeds the day they create their lasagna garden, while others choose to wait almost a year before they even begin, in order for layers of organic material to break down more. Also, some prefer not to use hay and straw as their last layer. As always, do whatever works best for you and just enjoy your time experimenting with this gardening method.

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