Lasagna Beds

This non-cultivation method of gardening is favored by some organic farmers.  Anita and Robert Opel, two founding members of Loving Garland Green follow the lasagna gardening technique for their urban garden.  I have to say that last year Anita and Robert did produce the tastiest radishes I've ever eaten.  This year (2014) their greens are monster-sized.  

Masanobu Fukuoka started his pioneering research work in this domain in 1938, and began publishing in the 1970s his Fukuokan philosophy of "Do Nothing Farming", which is now acknowledged by some as the tap root of the Permaculture movement.

No-dig methods allow nature to carry out cultivation operations. Organic matter such as well rotted manure, compost, leaf mold, spent mushroom compost, old straw, etc., is added directly to the soil surface as a mulch at least 2–6 in deep, which is then incorporated by the actions of worms, insects and microbes. Worms and other soil life also assist in building up the soil's structure, their tunnels providing aeration and drainage, and their excretions bind together soil crumbs. This natural biosphere maintains healthy conditions in the upper soil horizons where annual plant roots thrive.

No-dig systems are said to be freer of pests and disease, possibly due to a more balanced soil population being allowed to build up in this undisturbed environment, and by encouraging the buildup of beneficial rather than harmful soil fungi.

Moisture is also retained more efficiently under mulch than on the surface of bare earth, allowing slower percolation and less leaching of nutrients. Another no-dig method is sheet mulching wherein a garden area is covered with wetted paper or cardboard, compost and topped off with landscape mulch.


Below is a time-lapsed video of another version of a lasagna bed.  This raised bed has leaves, straw, manure, and Starbucks coffee grounds. Layered gardening as it will have very few weeds. Starbucks has a program for their used coffee grounds called "Grounds for Coffee". You can pick up their used coffee grounds for free. The worms love it! 

Lasagna Gardening also is identified by many other monikers such as No Dig Garden, Layered Gardening, Sheet mulching, etc.  As with just about every human activity, there is no one way set in stone, thus leaving room for continuous improvement of any given process--we even have a name for that process (It's called "progress.")