No lawn, no garden? No way!

Parsley

I love gardening. The thought of growing my food really excites me. Living in a high-rise condo with only a concrete balcony for outdoor space kind of limits you in terms of exploring your green thumb. Or so I thought…

I had heard talk of something called a ‘lasagna garden’ or the ‘no-dig garden’ and it piqued my interest. I did some research, asked some questions and decided this option was going to work well for our living situation.

I found a lot of my inspiration from a site called No Dig Vegetable Garden. I created my materials list and set out to some of the garden centres to collect what I needed. It turned out to be a very easy endeavour and one that provided an excellent learning opportunity for Little S.

She loved getting dirty (minus the cow-poo) and enjoyed planting her favourite vegetables. It was a nice activity for us to spend time together outdoors while learning about healthy eating. We discussed the importance of including vegetables in our diets and the benefits of creating your own, organic garden.  I would highly recommend this activity for you and your kids.

STEP ONE – THE FRAME

Step 1: Create Your Frame

If you’re like me, and you only have a concrete slab for outdoor space, you’ll want to build a frame for your garden. This will help to contain the soil and plants. My dad built mine for me so I can’t really speak to the effort required. Thanks Dad!

I took the measurements for the size I envisioned our garden to be and shared them with my dad. He was able to use odds and ends of wood pieces to create the frame. I stressed that this garden didn’t need to be ‘pretty’.

STEP TWO – NEWSPAPER

Layer newspaper

You’ll want to think about drainage. We drilled some holes in the bottom of the base to allow water to pass through. Another option is to cover the bottom with twigs and branches to create a drainage system.

Next, we covered the bottom of our garden with newspaper. We made sure to layer up the newspaper, allowing the edges to overlap. Next we watered the paper very generously. Over time, the newspaper will decompose and will add to the richness of the soil.

Water the newspaper

STEP THREE – ORGANIC LAYERING

After the newsprint was layered and wet, we added our peat moss layer. I chose a straight a Sphagnum Peat Moss with nothing added.  I followed the peat moss with a layer of compost soil and then followed with a layer of organic cow manure.

Peat Moss

We repeated this layering process three more times and then watered the mixture. The materials I chose were based on my research and based on my particular needs. But you can layer your garden with anything from coffee grounds to mulched leaves to food compost; the more organic, the richer the growing environment.

oragnice manure

STEP FOUR – PLANTING

Now it was on to planting. If you do your research you can find out the best types of fruits and vegetables to grow in your particular environment. Things to consider are the amount of space you have, the amount of sun exposure you will receive and the amount of weather exposure your garden may get.

We chose to plant cherry tomatoes, red peppers, parsley, basil, banana peppers, beans and carrots. These are some of our favourite vegetable and herbs but the list is really endless.

What I love about our garden, which I have affectionately named ‘ My It doesn’t have to be perfect garden’ is the flexibility you get with this type of set up. I didn’t want it to be too difficult to create or to maintain and I love the fact that over the years I can add to my soil makeup with other natural ingredients. With this garden, truly anything goes.

Lasagna Garden

What are your gardening plans for this season? Do you have tips to share? What are your favourite foods to grow?

Happy gardening everyone!

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