How to Layer Your Garden to Create Fertile Soil

Get a nutrient-rich garden, no digging necessary, with this simple layering technique.

If your landscaping conditions consist of dried-out and rock-solid ground, but you want a garden this summer, try our easy steps for creating a layered garden.

A lot like cooking lasagne, this garden idea requires many layers. It can also be referred to as a compost garden. This is because you lay down alternating layers of newspaper or cardboard with compost matter, such as leaves, grass clippings or the dirt from your composter. Eventually it all breaks down to create nutrient-rich soil for easy planting.

Remember, the key to a layered garden is that you’re building up the area where you’re going to plant — so no digging is necessary.

Here are four simple steps to starting your garden bed:

1. Law Down a Layer of Newspaper or Cardboard
This layer of paper will be used as your base. Newspaper and cardboard choke out any weeds or other unwanted plants.

Tip: No newspaper on hand? Use the pages from an old residential phone book instead.

2. Put Down a Brown Layer
In this instance, a brown layer is any organic matter that can compost easily into dirt. It could be leaves leftover from fall, or grass clipping from the last time you mowed the lawn.

3. Put Down a Green Layer
If you have a compost bin or pile, you can use the contents of that for your green layer. To get your organic matter to break down, you need to layer it brown, green, brown, green, etc. So the first layer of leaves or grass clipping is your first brown layer (even though they’re green).

4. Continue Alternating Brown and Green Layers
For a really rich garden, you’re supposed to build up the brown and green layers until they are close to half a metre high. If you’re hoping to have a big space for gardening, you’ll need to collect a lot of leaves, grass clippings and compost.

It may take about three months or so for your materials to break down into butter-soft soil. You may also need to add more height to your layered garden if you intend on working with plants that require deep planting holes.

Have you tried layered gardening before? Let us know how it went in the comments below.


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