Cooking with Compost

Lasagna has always been a favorite dish here at the garden, what’s not to the love about the layers of ooey gooey goodness?  We love lasagna SO much that we even decided to create our very own lasagna garden! It may sound a little strange, but lasagna gardening incorporates some of the same ideas as baking lasagna at home.

Now imagine your favorite lasagna- layers of creamy ricotta cheese wedged between wholesome, hearty lasagna noodles drenched in rich marinara sauce and topped off with delicious cheese.  Now replace those tasty noodles with cardboard, that decadent ricotta cheese with compost and that thick marinara sauce with soil and you’ve got a recipe for a lasagna garden! 


A lasagna garden is a no-dig gardening technique that uses layers of newspaper or cardboard, compost, brown materials, soil, and manure to produce a nutrient rich mixture that is perfect for growing. Over time these compostable ingredients will break down and produce a healthy living environment for worms and maturing plants.  Here’s one recipe for a lasagna garden…

What you will need…

Foods Scrapes or Compost


Newspaper or Cardboard

Brown materials (dried leaves, straw, sawdust, hay)

Organic Soil


Step 1

Pick the perfect location for your lasagna garden- a location with plenty of sun!  Now lay down your sheets of cardboard or newspaper and gently dampen.   The newspaper or cardboard will smother weeds and grass and will also create a nice cool place to attract earthworms.

Step 2

Lay down a thick layer (2-3 inches) of alfalfa- this will help retain moisture in your garden.

Step 3

Layer 4-8 inches of compost or organic material- use your hands to spread the layers evenly

Step 4

Alternate layers of brown materials and compost or green materials  (If planting in spring or summer during warm weather- intersperse topsoil between the layers of compost.  This will ensure a proper medium for planting)

Step 5

With your layers of green and brown materials in place, finish your lasagna garden with a final layer (3-4 inches) offinished compost or topsoil.

Step 6

Now plant directly in your new Lasagna garden! If you are using cardboard be sure to cut an "x" in the cardboard where you are planting so the roots can make it through to the earth below.

The best thing about lasagna is how simple ingredients and flavors work together to create a complex and flavorful dish.  A lasagna garden is very similar in that the various layers of compost and soil combine to form a nutritious environment for your plants to grow and thrive!

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published this page in Gardening tips 2012-05-03 06:26:22 -0700


Please watch this fantastic video the wonderful folks at Andrew Jackson Elementary made to raise $5k for the Seed to Table program at their school!