The Lasagna Method in garden-ese reduces the amount of digging needed to start a new perennial or vegetable bed. In other words – you cover the old growth or sod with layers, wait, and plant.

“Lasagna” is the name given to this technique by a Master Gardener, Meleah Maynard, in an article printed in a recent edition of Northern Gardener. It was used again, just this week by our own Master Gardener in Otter Tail County, Bev Johnson, in her weekly column. Whether one of them coined the moniker or borrowed it from a new horticultural technique and fad, I have no idea. But evidently it has become a nouveau trendy tip for preparing the soil for planting.

I went that route last summer, simply because my cousin Marlene told me how she always created her beds. I don’t know the provenance, but I know it works.

My only issue here in Minnesota is in calling it lasagna. I vote for Hot Dish.

There was a time when I thought nothing of digging up all the grass with my own little shovel. Who needs sod when there are flowers and vegetables to grow. New plants to possess. Garden dreams to actualize.

That time is long gone. Gone with the days of a younger back and stronger physical constitution. So the Hot Dish Method suits me just fine.

It entails positioning the new bed with a garden hose, curving and snaking the lines until it looks just right. Plopping down newspaper, five to ten sheets thick, watering, covering with topsoil and compost – 4 to 6 inches preferably, and covering it all with mulch – 3 to 4 inches.

I did all this at the beginning of summer and planted immediately, digging down with enthusiastic haste through the layers of newspaper with some difficulty. But it worked. And the plants seemed happy and thrived.

Of course I got some extra help –

Just this week I started my new perennial bed which will be ready next spring and the breakdown of sod and the settling in of amendments should make the task all that much easier.

I’m dreaming about a Prairie Fire Crab Apple in the middle, slightly to the left. Surrounded by drifts of monarda (bee balm) and asclepias (milkweed). I gravitate to all the butterfly and bee attractants. Definitely penstemon and salvias. Joe Pye Weed and Jacob’s Ladder. And . . .

I just might need another Hot Dish bed to the north. Takke fur maten.



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1 Response to HOT DISH

  1. Beth says:

    Love it! My hot dish gardening consists of my son’s bike, the sumps from last year’s plants, raked leaves I don’t want to bag, and probably the calling cards of our local cats. I am wondering to this day if the “seed” of our bike would grow into another bigger bike for him next year. (LOL) Still, the best thing I did this last year was to do what was done in a garden in Scotland where those gardeners verbally asked angels to help them with their garden. The results have been outstanding, and their garden has attracted thousands of visitors. This year, when I asked out loud for the same help, I, too, ended up with a better garden. It might be faith or craziness, but I’m going to try it again. Hot dish, too. Love your blog, by the way.

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