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Plan Now For a New Spring Garden

This lasagna garden has nothing to do with pasta—and everything to do with getting a garden bed ready for spring .

This fall, I want to add one extra chore to your ‘to do’ list. Before you groan about having more work, take note: this is a job that will pay big dividends next spring! In addition to fall pruning, bulb planting and topdressing the lawn, I want you to layout a lasagna garden. Sounds tasty right? Actually, this type of garden has nothing to do with pasta.

A lasagna garden is a simple technique that you can use to turn a section of lawn into a weed-free patch of soil—ready to become a vegetable or perennial garden with minimal effort.Trust me, if you start your lasagna garden now, you’ll have a weed-free space ready for you as soon as the snow melts.

Here is how you do it:

1. Start collecting recycled cardboard and newspaper. Remove all the tape and the staples and flatten the boxes.

2. Layer the cardboard on the ground where you want your new garden to be. Layer newspaper under the cardboard in the spots where you can see any ground peeking through. Cover over any gaps between the sections of the box—you don’t want any earth showing.

3. Bury the cardboard with at least 3” of mulch.

4. Lightly spray the entire space with water to ‘glue’ it all together and to help keep the mulch from moving and exposing the boxes.

5. Next spring, when it’s time to start gardening, simply remove the mulch from only the area that you want to plant. Make a hole in whatever cardboard is left, and plant directly into the space.

How does it work?

It’s simple, really. If you want to stop plants from growing and you don’t want to spend hours ripping them out, you need to take away one of the three things they need: water, soil or sunlight. They are already in the soil and it’s pretty tough to waterproof the yard, so removing the sunlight is the best option and the cardboard does just that.

Bonus: The cardboard takes about 7-9 months to naturally break down into the soil, and it’s adding nutrients the whole while.

Works to weed out existing beds, too:

This technique is also my favourite for removing weeds from existing garden beds around established perennials and shrubs. Just follow the exact same steps using at least seven layers of newspaper. Keep the newspaper tight to the base of the plants and cover the entire garden space. Even if you already have mulch in the beds (or even gravel) you can go right over the top. Unlike landscape fabric which tends to work its way up from under the mulch, the cardboard and newspaper naturally break down.

Outdoor design & lifestyle expert and HGTV personality Carson Arthur can be found online at carsonarthur.com