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Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling,No Weeding, No Kidding! Hardcover – August 20, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This intriguingly titled book?which has nothing to do with pasta and everything to do with layering?serves up a time-saving approach to gardening that will come as welcome news to the overworked and the horticulturally challenged. Lanza exhorts readers to build soil up, "instead of digging down," by simply layering organic materials onto a prospective garden site and close-planting directly into it. Together with generous mulching, she contends, this process eliminates some of gardening's more labor-intensive chores?tilling, double-digging, weeding and frequent watering. After outlining her basic premise, Lanza zeroes in on the specific areas of interest, including vegetables, herbs, berries and flowers, providing an abundance of detail on a wide selection of planting materials. Although this method of creating instant raised beds is not new, Lanza has refined it into a step-by-step procedure that she conveys with simplicity and clarity, and her chatty, first-person narrative makes the text a pleasure to read. Of particular interest to fledgling gardeners, this title will also appeal to those looking for new ways to streamline the demands of their favorite pastime.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Pat Lanza is a genius! It's a pleasure to find a garden writer like Pat who speaks from experience and who shares practical information in clear, understandable language. Her no-till, no-dig method will save many aching backs, and the tips and time-savers she sprinkles throughout Lasagna Gardening are sure to please gardeners of all skill levels."--Walter Chandoha, garden photographer and author of The Literary Gardener

"I absolutely recommend Lasagna Gardening for every gardener."--Ralph Snodsmith, host of Garden Hotline, WOR radio network
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (August 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875967957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875967950
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patricia Lanza was born in 1935 in Crossville, Tennessee to teen-agers George and Mamie Neal. An only child for eight years, Pat spent her early formative years with three loving grand-parents while her parents worked in Detroit, MI.

When her parents divorced Pat stayed with her mother and they moved to Jacksonville, FL. By age 15 Pat was married and by age 27 would have 7 children. She and her military husband worked hard to raise their family and get them through school. After his retiement Pat and her husband moved to New York's Catskill Mountains to own and operate a country inn.

It was there, in the rocky soil of the Catskills, with little time or energy to spare for gardening, Pat learned to make gardens without digging, tilling or weeding. She called it "lasagna gardening" and the results of using this method got noticed.

A newspaper publisher asked Pat to write a weekly column, garden clubs asked for lectures and then for a book. Pat's first book, self-published in three months, "How to Create Beautiful Gardens" came out in 1995. Pat continued to write for the weekly and also wrote for a daily with 750,000 readers.

Legendary publisher Rodale Press took notice and signed a contract for Lasagna Gardening, No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! Published in November of 1998 it took home the Garden Writer's of America Quill and Trowel Award in 1999. Pat went on to write Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces in 2002 and Lasagna Gardening with Herbs in 2004.

Pat doesn't sit on her laurals and has continued to work as she nears her 75th birthday. Her latest work is a re-print of a book she bought at a yard sale: "My Garden Doctor" by Frances Duncan. First published in 1913 it is now in the public domain and out of print. The story is inspiring and worth being reprinted so others can read it and Pat loves it.

In addition, Pat is working on a book "My Grandmother's Aprons" to come out in 2011 or 2012. It is preceeded by a CD with Pat telling the first fourteen pages of the story of her own grandmother's aprons and what she did with them. The book will be a collection of other's memories of their own grandmother's aprons and illustrated.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I believe that when it comes to books presenting new ways of doing anything, the only testimony that counts is that which comes from firsthand experience. Well folks, I'm here to tell you after a year of gardening the lasagna way that my firsthand experience shows this book is one of the wisest investments any gardener can make. Let me tell you about my 2003 garden.
First, a short outline of lasagna gardening technique: soak b&w newspapers in water, then overlap sections in a single layer directly on top of premarked sod area. This smothers the weeds/grass underneath. Then put a 4 inch layer of moistened peat moss over that, followed by a moist layer of organic shredded green material, followed by another layer of peat moss, followed by a layer of moist compost or yard waste, repeat the peat moss/organic matter pattern until your bed is built up to at least 18 inches high. Finish with compost on top, then either let it break down for a few months for certain crops or plant seeds and transplants directly into the matrix by pushing aside layers and inserting. As the layers break down, the earthworms will be eating the sod and breaking up the newspapers, mixing the layers together for you. The final result is an organic, self-tilled soil that's rich and free of disease and weed seeds. It's so simple.
Note: the author did neglect to mention the importance of wetting down each layer as you build the beds. I only figured this out because I had made compost before and I knew you needed moist materials for it to work.
In late fall of 2002 I built a 5 foot by 25 foot border bed for perennial flowers the lasagna way after reading Patricia Lanza's book. It sounded almost too good to be true - no digging, no tilling, no weeding? What was the catch, I asked myself.
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Format: Paperback
I really like the concept of this book. The author has taken practices of no-dig gardening, mulching and sheet composting and combined them to come up with an innovative method for quickly creating a productive garden without the back-breaking work traditionally involved.
The first chapter of the book explains the lasagna gardening method -- which involves covering up the ground where you intend to plant with a layer of cardboard or wet newspaper to keep down weeds, then topping this with 1 1/2 to 2 feet of layered organic materials such as chopped leaves, compost, straw, grass clippings, etc. You can plant into this straight away, or cover the beds and wait for the materials to decompose. The lasagna gardening method is simple and really only takes 1 chapter to describe. The rest of the book offers good advice on growing vegetables, herbs, flowers, dealing with pests, and special tips and techniques for making your garden unique. This information is comprehensive and beginners will probably find it useful. But I already own a number of gardening books and didn't find a lot of new ideas here. I would suggest experienced gardeners borrow this book from the library first before deciding whether to buy it.
I do have some reservations about the lasagna gardening method. I live in the city and have recently taken on a large garden plot which is overgrown with weeds and brambles. I have decided against pursuing lasagna gardening, for the moment at least. I don't have very much compost, leaves or straw on hand, and because I don't own a car it would be difficult and impractical for me to transport the large quantities of organic materials needed.
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10 Comments 395 of 438 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Usually when reviewing titles we like to keep personal experience out of the review. But for this book, the review would not have been complete without telling the experience of our Founder and Chief Literarian had after using Patricia Lanza's techniques. In fact, it was her running around the office raving about her garden that led us to this book.
Before using this book, our leader had a decidedly brown thumb. After using this book she starting throwing homegrown zucchinis and tomatoes about like water. This book was so easy to understand, so engaging and so up and at `em that any reader who does not get up and immediately begin a hearty search for composting materials must be stuck under something heavy or tied to an immovable object.
Lanza has found the magic formula for growing a green thumb. Make no mistake, this book is written for the beginner but even so, the advanced gardener would certainly find a trick or two between its pages. And yes, we understand lasagna gardening is just sheet composting in pretty overalls. But since we have yet to read a book about sheet composting that is even remotely as interesting as Lanza's lasagna, we'll continue to sidle up to her supper table for another helping.
Grab a helping for yourself, and while you're at it, buy a freezer and a pressure canner. You'll need it.
Comment 46 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on May 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from a friend and fell in love with it! I have one on order. My family and I put in 2- 4 foot squares in less then 4 hrs. We even had it planted!! We all worked together and even my kids had fun doing this "work". They can't wait until I put in some more. I have been putting off, putting in a garden for 5 years now. I don't have a tiller, and our yard is nothing but rocks. It would have taken me weeks to get it ready. If you like gardening, but hate the work, this is the way to go!!!
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