Monday, May 16, 2011

Weeds, Bugs, and Harvesting with Lasagna Gardening

So I have been experimenting with a "lasagna garden" this year.  Last year I had a regular tilled organic garden, while this year I have not tilled.  The results have been amazing.  The first few weeks after I put in my lasagna beds I pulled numerous grain/grass seedlings due to using fresh/green manure.  Since then I have spent more time individually planting, training & tying vines, and harvesting the garden than pulling weeds.

This morning I went out and tended the garden.  I spent about 10 minutes tying my tomatoes.  I have to do this every 2-3 days because some of the vines grow 3-4 inches a day.  Then I trained my cucumbers to their trellis, about 10 minutes.  The ones that were too short were tied to the 2"x4" wire mesh with some cotton string.  Then I moved to my pumpkins, melons, gourds, and winter squash I have given them an obstacle to grow over.  It is less of a trellis and more a way to get them to use more vertical space than ground space.  Training those vines took about 10 minutes too.  While doing all of these task I kept an eye out for weeds.  I spent maybe 5 additional minutes pulling weeds.

For the past few weeks I have spent more time harvesting greens than pulling weeds.  I have also been keeping an eye out for squash bugs, cutworms, and vine borers.  Saturday I found 3 cut worms on my tomato plants and one of my pepper plants has been cut half in two (but it should survive).  I pick these three off of my plants, but leave most other bugs alone.  Wasp do most of my insecticidal work.  I don't bother picking bugs off of my greens, I have an abundance and it gives a constant food supply to the wasp.  There are also a couple of sacrificial plants around the garden.  I planted Amaranth (for seed) and japanese giant red mustard which is really hot.  The bugs love both of these and leave most of the other plants alone.    I have also planted Sweet Asylum thru the garden which attracts other predatory insects.

I will keep you posted on what I think of this method of gardening, but for now I am sold.

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