This summer, I decided to try out my green thumb and learn to garden.
I asked a gardening friend to teach me all she knew. I went to her house and watched how she gardened. She showed me techniques she'd been using for years, including how to mulch, compost and transplant.
My friend identified a few mystery bushes in my yard and even gave me some of her plants as a start.
I am very grateful for all I learned from my gardening friend and also that she introduced me to the book, "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza.
Lanza has discovered a less backbreaking, no-shoveling twist on gardening. Her technique involves laying wet newspapers or cardboard on top of dirt ground, even on top of weeds, than layering materials - compost, mulch, straw or peat moss - like making lasagna, improving the soil.
The author shares stories of her first few "lasagna" gardens and then she gives "lasagna" tips for popular vegetables, flowers and herbs. "Lasagna Gardening" is full of real-life experience and great suggestions for people with large or small gardens in mind.
Craig has less-than-ideal soil. This book gives all gardeners an option to garden without worrying about the original soil because the lasagna process makes new, rich soil.
I have sectioned out a 3x5 foot space in my backyard for my first garden. I have layered wet newspapers, straw, grass clippings, more straw, old leaves, still more straw, more grass clippings and wood ashes.
The bed is about 16 inches tall. Then, I pushed back the lasagna material, making a hole, and planted strawberries, peppers and herbs.
Now, it is just a waiting, watering and waiting game to see how the garden produces.
By recycling old grass clippings, veggie-based kitchen scrapes, fall leaves and wood ashes, a hearty garden can be accomplished with the "Lasagna Gardening" method.
After my friend identified the mystery bushes, I needed to find a place to replant them. I also needed to know how much water they needed and how big they would get. I was directed to "Xeriscape Plant Guide" by Denver Water and Rob Proctor. It had great pictures to identify plants, shrubs, perennials and annuals for Colorado.
This book is full of illustrated vegetation that is drought tolerant and easy to grow in tough conditions.
Every plant mentioned has a full explanation of its form, best use, characteristics, the desired culture, disadvantages and best features. There are suggestions about which plants grow best together and about different varieties of each species.
By using the information in "Xeriscape Plant Guide", a water-conscious yard can be established and continue in beauty year after year.
Both of these books promote an energy-conscious, recycling and go-green point of view that can help the beginner and the skilled gardener.
"Lasagna Gardening" is published by Rodale, Inc. and is available at the Downtown Books for $17.95. "Xeriscape Plant Guide" is published by Fulcrum Publishing and also is available at Downtown Books for $27.95.