Leaf Lasagna Recipe

If you want to convert some lawn area into planting beds without the back breaking work of digging up sod or expense of a sod cutter this is the time of year to act! Benefit from the free gift of leaves falling off trees to establish new planting beds for next spring with a simple “leaf lasagna” recipe. Leaves are nature’s cheap (as in free) renewable resource. Mulch them into your garden or planting beds in October and November and watch the earthworms take up residence!

“Leaf Lasagna” planting bed creation

Place newspaper on top of turf areas approximately 4 pages thick. Try to stick with black and white print as opposed to color ads. Have the hose handy and place the papers in the pattern or area where the new bed is to be established. Water down the paper as you go, obviously a calm day is preferred for this activity or you’ll be chasing the sports section through the neighborhood. Next layer on the leaves over top of the newsprint again watering the leaves in place as we go. Finally cover the leaves with soil to hold the leaves and newsprint in place. If you don’t the leaves may end up in your neighbors yard and they probably won’t be too happy.

Just add soil to the top and let it cook all winter!

The top soil will be the final layer of your “leaf lasagna” providing the gravitas needed for your project.

Now allow the “lasagna” to “cook” under the cover of snow all winter. With the arrival of spring the grass will have died below the newsprint and you’ll be able to till and plant! You can speed the process by running the lawnmower over the leaves before putting them into the ground “lasagna” to speed the process of what I call “passive composting”…….stay grounded my friends!

Green Thumb

The heat and drought of this summer are hopefully past and now we enter one of the best times of the year to yard and garden! I know you work “yard” for the money. Late August through October is the perfect time to “grow” get em and re-establish “lawn” and order in your landscape. It’s a great time for both plants and people. You’ll have a green thumb by both improving your odds of success in the yard and from the currency you’ll save by being smart and investing in your “hort”-folio. Here are 5 reasons why with a bonus comment to boot!

1) Feeding. We’ve been pouring on the water during heat and drought to keep our lawns alive. August to October is a great and efficient time to feed your lawn because it will thicken your lawn and improve density. Lots of root establishment occurs in fall. You’ll be miles ahead next spring by pampering your lawn a little this fall.
2) Fall is for planting. Late August to October is the perfect time to plant in Michigan. You can generally find deals and discounts for plant material. In addition fall planted landscape plants put their energy into establishment and root growth….not into top growth. You will be further ahead next spring with a plant that has rooted itself in your garden and is ready to go.
3) Seeding. Grass seed is relatively inexpensive. You can repair bare spots, seed a new lawn, or overseed an existing lawn by buying bulk grass seed and doing it yourself. The best time of the year to seed and establish turf in West Michigan is between late August and October.
4) After the heat and drought of summer you need some instant color to rejuvenate your landscape and patio planters. Consider Mums, Ornamental grasses and Pansies. Mums are perennials giving you beautiful color this fall and will come back again next year, so will ornamental grasses. You’ll get more than just the fall season with them. Pansies can be planted for fall color and they will survive under the cover of this winter’s snow to bloom again next spring! You’ll get more than one season for the money.
5) Split your plants! If you want to divide or move plants August-October is a great time to do so! From Peonies to Iris……Daylilies to Hostas you can double your money by digging and dividing and two or three for the price of one!
One final note to our list……Exercise! Late August to October after the heat and drought of this past summer is a perfect time for people too! You can save on your club membership and get fresh air and exercise outdoors. It’s a perfect time for people and plants!

(But don’t be surprised if I come running through your neighborhood to supplement my yard and garden workouts)