Fall is All About Layers – Layers of Cardboard in the Garden

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Want to get a jump on next spring? Plant a little cardboard this fall. Cardboard and paper are economical, sustainable and easy tools to use this fall while prepping for your springtime garden.

For neophyte gardeners, a simple layer of cardboard might be enough. According to BirdsandBlooms.com, this can be done by laying a cardboard template on the ground in autumn where you want your flower bed to be. Wet the cardboard thoroughly and layer with more soil, compost or mulch. Come spring, you will have a rich and ready bed.

For gardeners who have a little more patience, maybe it’s time to try some lasagna – as in the “lasagna method,” also known as layering. In lasagna gardens, organic material are layered on top of the land and no tilling is necessary.

It was a method “borne of frustration,” according to author and gardener Patricia Lanza. In an article for Mother Earth News, she writes, “I began to think about a garden built on top of the sod, requiring none of the traditional preparation: no lifting the sod, no digging or tilling, just neat layers of organic ingredients left to decompose over the winter …”

One of the most important layers is cardboard — and it can be laid out in whatever pattern you want.

“I laid cardboard on the paths,” Lanza says, “and covered the cardboard with bark chips. I then covered the garden spaces with thick layers of wet newspaper, overlapping the ends, and covered the paper with one to two inches of peat moss. Then I laid a three- to four-inch layer of dried grass clippings over the peat moss and added another one or two inches of peat moss. I continued to alternate layers of waste material and peat moss. Midway through, it struck me that the peat moss was akin to the cheese layer in a real lasagna.”

There are several sites you can check out to help in the construction of your lasagna garden, including here and here. And if you need extra cardboard, with the popularity of online shopping, you are sure to find a friend or two who can help out.