How to Build a No-Dig Layered Lasagna Garden Bed

Layered gardening, sheet mulching, or lasagna gardening is a way to build healthy, fertile garden beds – no digging required! Here’s a simple tutorial.

Whether you hate digging, are physically incapacitated, or simply have poor soil, lasagna gardening can be a great way to grow a garden without having to dig up the ground to plant your veggies. With the use of natural materials like hay, straw, and compost, the lasagna garden method lends itself well to organic gardening.

While you can plant in your layered beds right away if necessary, most gardeners get better results by preparing the beds in the fall or winter months, and letting them settle in before planting in the spring. You can either build your lasagna garden beds right on the garden spot, or build boxes to contain them for a neater look.

If your weather is warm this winter like ours has been, you may be able to prepare these beds right now, and plant them once spring arrives. Here is how to do it – step-by-step (The materials listed here are enough to build a 4-by-8-foot raised bed.):

2 to 3 pounds bloodmeal & bonemeal
1 bale of herbicide-free alfalfa hay
1 bale of herbicide-free straw (use bedding straw, not feed straw, which has viable seeds)
10 cubic feet of compost (preferably homemade)

Step 1.
Moisten the soil thoroughly with a hose and add a generous dusting of bloodmeal and bonemeal….(Repeat the watering and dusting step after adding each layer to the pile.)

Step 2.
Cover the ground with ¼ to ½ inch of newspapers.  (You may wish to soak the newspapers in water first, to make them easier to work with.)

Step 3.
Place 4-inch-deep pads 
of alfalfa hay on top of the newspaper.

Step 4.
Add 8-inch-deep pads of straw on top of the alfalfa hay.

Step 5.
Top with 4 inches of compost.

Step 6.
Plant vegetable seedlings or sow seeds in the compost layer. Top-dress with more straw or grass clippings.

For some helpful tips, plus photos of each step, visit


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

More to Explore