Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Living here for the last 10 years, I have started, expanded and rearranged many new beds.  I moved the failing-to-bloom daylilies which were running for sunlight out from under the double-flowering cherries and into a sunnier spot where we'd cut out overgrown spruce bushes.  The kids and I transplanted ferns from our slopes down into the shady bed and divided hosta.  When the fake rock to cover our new well pump plunked itself into the middle of the yard, I extended a peninsula from an existing bed to incorporate it like it was an intentional feature.

But this is my first lasagna bed.  Unlike a "salsa garden" this bed will not support the ingredients to make lasagna, but is built lasagna-style in layers.  You don't till or turn the layers in such a bed, but add the necessary raw ingredients to create rich soil.  The nutrients typically last 3 years.  My friends at MiLo Acres recommend planting leafy things in the first year.  Fruit bearing crops might be too happy producing leaves and growing willy-nilly to settle down enough to produce fruit.  So we've got it earmarked for chard, kale, spinach, romaine and the like.

Typically the first layer is cardboard, or newspaper, but since I use office-paper-shreds in my chicken coop, I opted to continue recycling.  (Now all that stuff normally slated for the landfill will be growing vegetables!)  The addition of chicken-poo to this layer is excellent and the hard chicken-poo-paper-mache will work sufficiently to keep the weeds down.

The next layer, as you can see, is comprised of corn and okra stalks (vegetation with no weed seeds is bonus).  I'm never sure what to do with these anyway.  Last weekend, my daughter added another 6-8 inches of rotting hay we had housing mice under the barn.  Next will come manure, though, without a pick-up truck, this will be harder to acquire.  The saving grace is that I have all winter to build it; two feet of materials. Come spring, it will begin to rot and decompose properly and be ready for planting (with pockets of potting soil directly around the roots).

Last night, I made another startling discovery about beds.  I make mine every day.  Not only that, I make my husband's side too--without complaint.  I never would have suspected, based on my childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and feminism that I would ever become such a person.  Sometimes change comes ever so slowly, you don't recognize it until you're staring at your about-faced self.  Like how paper and poo and cornstalks and rotting hay will cease to be individual entities and become soil.  Good habits and bad habits alike form slyly, decay of one thing giving way to growth of another.


stephanie thomas berry said...

I once read a study noting that people who made their beds had more serenity throughout their day. I don't think they used the word serenity, I don't even know how you could begin to quantify that, but I do know that sometimes the small order of a made bed is the only order I'll get in my day. Though, actually, my life is more and more ordered, in a loosely-shuffled-stack-of-papers kind of way, since my older kids have moved out (go figure!). Also, my husband does not get the made bed thing, though he will help me make it if he's in the room...sometimes... I had to pick my battles, and he does, finally pick his socks up off the floor. Most of the time. :) Glad to see another post!

Britt Kaufmann said...

Thanks, Stephanie. My office is a *wreck* but for some reason I like to have my bed made... And I think my husband would help, if I actually got up when he did -- but that's just too early for me. :)