Friday, 9 October 2015

How to fill a raised bed using the lasagna method.

When I decided to get raised beds for our front garden I did some online research about the best way to fill raised beds.  I came across lasagna gardening, where you make lots of layers to add nutrients and to mimic the natural structure of soil, and thought that sounded like a good idea.  There's lots and lots of information on lasagna gardening online!  Some is very precise (add 1 inch of 'greens' to 2 inches of 'browns') and some is less so (I'm pretty sure they were joking when they said throw in a pair of old boots!), so I thought I'd show you what I did.

I bought my raised beds online, then Joe (patiently) taught me how to use a drill so I could assemble them all by myself! (nearly!)

First, I lined my raised bed.  The internet is full of people saying you must line your raised bed and people saying you must not line your raised bed.  I've lined mine with weed suppressant fabric that's supposed to let water through, but mostly it's to stop the soil coming out the bottom and ending up all over the drive.  I punched a couple of holes in the lining so the raised beds don't end up being waterlogged.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

My raised beds are 90cm by 120cm, and 30cm tall.  I worked out that I needed about 325 litres to fill each bed. 

I added layers of cardboard, newspapers and magazines, then watered them so they were a little damp.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Next was half a bag of bark chips, which works out as 25 litres.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

I layered in the kitchen scraps from the compost caddy in the kitchen and the one from work, 2 bunches of flowers from my birthday that had gone wilty and some lettuce that was past it's best in the fridge.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

I wasn't planning on putting coir compost in, but I picked up a 50 litre pack from Home Bargains for £1.79, so in it went.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Dandelion leaves, nettle leaves, buddleia and magnolia leaves went in next.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Then I put in the contents of the paper recycling basket - lots of loo rolls!

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Next was a 1/3 pack of straw, I gave the whole thing a little sprinkling of water again too.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

I added a 25 litre bag of top soil.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

I dug some soil from the garden beds, and from under the hedge at the bottom of the garden, it's full of worms and leaves and hopefully some good microorganisms to make my new raised bed healthy.  I added about 1 small trug full.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Next up I put some prunings from a wiegela bush, then a thin sprinkling of bark chips.  I watered this layer too.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

Lastly, I put in the 7 remaining bags of topsoil I'd bought.  That's 175 litres.

How to Fill a Raised Bed using the Lasagna Method. secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk

And then I was finished, which I was happy about, because I was exhausted!

The total costs were £24 for 200 litres of topsoil (2 lots of special offer, 4 25 litre bags for £12 from Homebase) , £2.50 for half a 50 litre bag of bark chippings and £1.79 for a 50 litre bag of coir compost.  I had everything else already, so I think this turned out to be a very cheap way to fill a raised bed!

I'm going to grow onions and garlic in my raised bed over winter, and I've been inspired for future planting schemes by reading this article about growing in small spaces in October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine.  There are loads of great ideas for growing in square meter beds, that would be perfect for raised beds too!

Vegan Life Magazine October 2015 secondhandsusie.blogspot.co.uk #ukveganblogger #ukgardenblogger
Image c/o Vegan Life Magazine.
 

Disclosure - I have been provided with a free digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine in return for reviewing this publication.  I even have my own page in the vegan bloggers section on their lovely website.  All opinions are, of course, my own and always will be.

Linking up with Green Thumb Thursday.

13 comments:

  1. That is a very complex and good looking lasagne.
    We've used a layer of cardboard, straw and well composted cow dung. I say well composted, but it seems we could harvest a substantial amount of stinging nettles. Ouch!

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    Replies
    1. Oh no, sorry to hear about those nettles! They really hurt if you get stung, don't they!

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    2. They sure do. And I've become severely allergic to them. But good old marigold gloves do the trick.

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  2. I always enjoy your posts about gardening! Very sweet watering can :)

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  3. Wow, this is cool! That's one epic lasagna! We definitely want raised beds when we buy our own house!x

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  4. Hi Susie!

    I am so glad you found your feature on Green Thumb Thursday last week! I normally stop by and let the featured writer know, but I got stuck at work for 12 hours that day! I was really glad to see you found it. It's an awesome post!

    Feel free to stop by the blog and grab a featured badge! I hope to see you again this Thursday!

    Lisa

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for featuring me, that made me really happy! :)

      Delete
  5. We had to remove our Sod which we put in last Summer, and we are installing artificial grass, as we have dogs who are using our garden as a toilet. Can I throw the sod into my wooden raised garden as a filler and then add cardboard, compost etc? Will the sod break down or will it go rotten and smell really bad, under the other fillers????

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  6. We are installing artificial grass due to having 2 Dogs using original lawn as a toilet. Can I use original sod which we are replacing as a filler in my new wooden raised beds? Will it smell as it rots or should I not use at all?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Mackie, I've never used sod as a filler for raised beds, so I'm not 100% sure, but I would have thought it would be fine. If it were me I would put the sod in the bottom of the raised bed, grass side down, then cover with a layer of cardboard, then compost and so on. The grass should just compost down, I wouldn't expect it to rot or go smelly, but again it's not something I've done in a raised bed so I'm only guessing! When we dug our lawn up I made a pile of all the sod (grass side down) and left it to compost for a year, it didn't go smelly and it made really nice compost! Good luck!

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  7. thanks so much for your reply. I never expected it! That is exactly what I have done- just as you described.

    hoping I will have a gorgeous garden because of it! Thanks very much.

    ReplyDelete

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