Agriplex Teaches ‘Lasagna Gardening’

Mary Standifer/CullmanSense

CULLMAN – Last Tuesday, a class geared towards teaching individuals how to begin and maintain a garden using the “Lasagna Gardening” format was held at the North Alabama Agriplex Heritage Center. The process is low maintenance, long lasting, and results in a virtually weed-less garden.

Lasagna Gardening gets its’ name from the layers of material that must be placed on the ground before planting. The process begins by laying newspaper down, wetting it, and then continuing to add layers of various organic materials on top of it. In the hands-on example that attendees were encouraged to participate in, newspaper was laid on the freshly rained on ground followed by organic compost material, and lastly pine straw. Small holes were then dug and plants were planted in the organic material. Lasagna gardens can have even more layers, and the exact organic compounds used may vary greatly.

The initial layer of newspaper stops many weeds from sprouting in one’s garden, however, it is not the only way gardeners who choose this method will avoid weeds. The Lasagna Garden process requires no tilling of the ground; when wanting to freshen the soil, more layers are simply added to the top. While tilling kills existing weeds, it actually brings weed seeds to the surface where they are provided with fresh nutrients from the disturbed soil, and access to more sunlight: both factors that help the seed to sprout effectively. 

The North Alabama Agriplex Heritage Center hosts many classes and seminars on the grounds; events cover a variety of agricultural and horticultural topics and accommodate a wide spectrum age group.

“The mission of the Agriplex is to promote agriculture and to preserve our heritage in agriculture…So a lot of what we do is try to teach people to grow things [and] teach people where their food comes from; we do a lot of work with kids, but then also with adults,” says Director Rachel Dawsey. The non-funded state agency has been operating for almost fifteen years but has only had its Agriplex building since 2012. The organization operates as a non-profit; the building was even constructed largely with help from volunteers. 

With a wide range of topics and events for every age group, the North Alabama Agriplex Heritage Center has something to offer to every member of the community. To find out more, visit or e-mail Dawsey at