10 Tips for Planting Immediately in a Lasagna Garden

Spring and are great times to start a new lasagna garden. You can get your garden organized in a day and it will be ready to plant in straight away if you use properly aged compost and aged cow manure as a base. These ingredients are broken down and ready to support plant growth.

This article will explore my top 10 tips for planning immediately in a lasagna garden. These tips will work for vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, seeds and seedlings.

1. Layer thick carboard as a base

Layering thick carboard as a base for the lasagna garden is key for planting straight away in this space. Good quality, plain and thick carboard is the perfect base to stop weeds, support worm and bacteria growth and prepare the space for your lasagna layers.

Carboard is a great base which will stop weeds growing for at least 3-4 months. This will give the time for the plants to establish and prevent the weed seeds from receiving light. It will also get rid of persistent weeds as they will completely die off over the 3 month period.

2. Choose well aged compost

well aged compost should have fine particles ready to plant straight into

Choosing well aged compost is key to creating a lasagna garden bed that you can plant in straight away. Aged compost will be broken down into small pieces and will not continue to rapidly break down.

If newer compost is used or if it is not completely broken down then it will continue to do this in your lasagna garden, the bacteria can trap nitrogen and it can affect plant growth.

Commercial composts will be broken down and ready to add to your lasagna garden. I have chosen a mix of composts including one that has a seaweed additive, mushroom compost for bacterial variety as well as aged manure.

Compost will slowly break down over time creating small amounts of humus anaerobically. Humus is garden gold and captures nutrients ready for plants to absorb them.

For more on humus check out my article here: Difference Between Humus and Compost | Top 5 Key Differences

3. Choose aged manures

Aged cow manure will be dark and crumbly ready to mix with compost.

Adding aged manures to your lasagna garden is fantastic as they will be broken down and ready to release their nutrients to plant roots. Aged cow manure is fine so is easily mixed through your compost and does not have a harsh smell like fresh compost.

Avoid adding any fresh manure to your lasagna garden including chicken, cow, horse goat or sheep. These can burn plant roots and should not be planted in straight away. Do not add cat or dog poo to your garden either, these can spread disease.

Break down fresh manure from grazing animals such as cows or horses in your own compost pile for 6 months. This compost will be ready to add to your lasagna bed when it looks like dark, crumbly soil.

4. Mix the ingredients well

Mix the ingredients as you go so they are thoroughly incorporated.

After adding the composts and aged manure it is important to mix them well with a garden fork or rake. Mix it all well so that the plants get access to each ingredient. This means that they will get the nutrients, oxygen and soil structure they need to thrive.

5. Add mulch on top for seedlings

I am adding a water saving mulch over the top before planting. That way I can get it nice and flat with my rake without damaging any plants.

Add mulch to your lasagna bed straight away so that it is read to plant your seedlings. I like to layer mulch across my bed first before planting so I can use my rake to evenly flatten it out. You can then pull back a small amount of mulch where your seedlings will go.

Mulch is great for keeping the layers of the lasagna garden moist for longer. These layers of compost and aged manure can dry out quicker than ground soil so mulching is essential. I like to add a 2 inch layer of bark mulch, straw or sugar cane mulch to hold in the water. It also stop any compost from blowing away in strong winds.

6. Water it in well after planting

Water garden beds with a fine spray to avoid washing away soil.

Watering your plants and whole lasagna bed is essential if you are planting straight away. This will help the ingredients to settle in, release the nutrients to the plant roots and allow the plants to settle in quickly.

It is important to keep your new lasagna bed moist while any seeds or seedlings are establishing. Over time, the seedlings will establish and you will need to water the garden less. Mulch is essential to keep your lasagna bed moist for good plant growth.

7. Layer the top with seed raising mix for seeds

If you are planning on planting seeds into your lasagna garden bed then it is best to layer ½ an inch of seed raising mix over the top. This will have ultra-fine particles which make it perfect for tiny seeds to push their way through.

Do not layer mulch on top of your garden bed if you are planting seeds. Wait until they have grown into seedlings that are 3-4 inches high and then add mulch. Mulch can block seed growth if it is added too early.

8. Make a hole in the carboard for bigger plants

Dig down and cut out a hole for bigger, deeper plants. I like to use a garden knife or scissors to do this.

Cut a hole in the carboard if you are on planting bigger plants into your lasagna bed that have deeper root systems. If the roots are already reaching below the carboard it is best to give the plant the space to grow early on.

Cut a hole that is the same size as the root ball so the roots can grow through to deeper ground soil. This will help to stabilize the plant but will still prevent weeds from growing through.

9. Choose spring or fall to start your garden

The first flower on my new viola seedling has come out within a day of growing in my new lasagna garden bed.

Spring and fall are the best times to start a new lasagna garden. The weather will be warm enough to establish new plants before it turns too hot or too cold. The mild weather will allow the ingredients to mix together and for worms and soil bacteria to move in.

Allowing your new seeds or seedlings to establish in spring and fall is essential for lots of flowers, fruit and vegetable crops.

I have created a new fall lasagna garden with viola seedlings. These will be covered with flowers in a few weeks and will brighten up my winter garden.

10. Choose healthy seedlings ready for the season

If you want to plant out new seedlings straight away in your lasagna bed make sure they are healthy and appropriate for the season. This means waiting until frosts have passed before planting your frost sensitive summer vegetables.

Wait until the weather has cooled in fall before planting your winter vegetables, herbs and flowers. This will give them a good start and they won’t wilt or burn in the late summer sun.   

Make sure any chance of frost has passed if you are planting sensitive seedlings like tomatoes. Keep your seedlings in a greenhouse until the cold weather has passed.

10 Tips for Planting Immediately in a Lasagna Garden | Summary

Lasagna gardens are great because you can plant seedlings and seeds in them straight away. It is essential to make your layers with well composted manure or compost and mix the ingredients well. Worms will move in to break down the carboard and mix the ingredients ready to release the nutrients for your plants to absorb.