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IPFS News Link • How To

From Compacted Clay to Thriving Garden: Build Soil Quickly with Lasagna Gardening

•, by Ramblin Farmers

No, it has nothing to do the Italian pasta dish.

"Lasagna gardening" is a method of building rich soil.

It was one of the very first ways I learned to grow food when I started organic gardening 7 years ago.

My mentor and dear friend was a German horticulturalist named Marielu. She implemented what German's call Hugelkultur raised beds all over her self-sufficient homestead, and let me tell you: the place was THRIVING.

Starting with compacted hard clay

But our new garden was rock-hard clay, basically concrete.

I asked Marielu how we would ever have a garden like hers if our soil was so terribly compacted.

She grinned: "I started with the same exact clay that you have".

The Hochbeet or Hugelkultur (German for "raised/mound bed") method is a practical way to create a self-fertilizing, composting raised bed. It has been used for centuries all over Europe.

The process is simple: pile different organic matter on top of each other to create a raised garden bed with zero tillage or digging.

This is also sometimes called a "lasagna" garden or "sheet composting" because of the layering.