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Haddonfield Community Gardens

Paul Eckman’s Lasagna Recipe Garden — Has it worked?

I started my lasagna recipe (garden) last fall and the dish is still cooking; however, I sampled it on a few occasions this summer and encountered some anticipated benefits, the results of which are inconclusive due primarily to the amount of rainfall during this growing season. In the beginning, I decided to try the recipe primarily because it was supposed to retain moisture in the soil. Needless to say, due to the above-average amount of precipitation, I didn’t need an evaporation barrier of kitchen and yard waste combined with newspaper and sawdust. I think the garden was too wet. The tomatoes were terrible; they rotted on the vine and cracked from sudden bursts of growth. There was, however, a noticeable absence of black spots and I don’t think they were affected by any of the known fungi.

It retained too much water

My corn was excellent, although smaller when compared to previous years. There was a small crop of cucumbers. The sweet peppers were terrible; the hot ones donated by Don Neely were excellent and produced in great numbers. In general, with the exception of the corn, I think my recipe was too moist; it retained too much water. I didn’t need that extra layer this year.

The recipe was supposed to encourage the growth of valuable creatures and substances which would build nutrients in the soil. Quite frankly, after trans-porting the waste during the hot summer months and dumping it in the garden, mixed with newspaper and grass clippings, I really didn’t feel like probing the mess in order to verify the claims. I think I will wait until next spring when the mixture has disappeared. Contrary to other assumed benefits for the recipe, I might just turn over the soil!

Great weed control

The formula did control weeds. I only had to weed twice around the periphery of the garden and between some corn stalks which were not sufficiently covered with the ingredients.

I plan to continue cooking through the winter and spring; however, I will cut back on the recipe by composting only one half of the planting area. I will use the other half as a control plot and assume that the rain will return to a normal level in 2010. I still need to test the soil, but I can’t find the kit.

In essence, the recipe does control weeds, but the other anticipated results are inconclusive. Nevertheless, except for dumping and covering the debris (garbage), I like to recycle and I hope the results are positive for spring planting.

Bon appetite.

Written by Paul Eckman, Plot 29