Cloud layer gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that adds layers to the soil like building Lasagna for dinner. Instead you are building your dirt. This method of building the soil, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time. Your result? Beautiful forest floor dirt! I like to think of the layers we put on the ground as clouds, they regulate the amount of solar energy reaching the dirt. When we cover and protect the dirt like clouds we keep the dirt cooler and less water is evaporated as well as keeping the carbon in the ground which keeps the climate cooler. Keeping the climate in balance. This is also known as “sheet composting,” cloud layer gardening is great for the environment because you're using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden. And keeping the climate cooler. Rodale says:
“ This is recommended for all farms because it build soil organic matter,
which has far reaching benefits for plant health and farm sustainability.15 This
minimize biota disturbance and erosion losses while incorporating carbon rich amendments
and retaining the biomass of roots and shoots, all of which contribute to carbon sequestration
by photosynthetic removal and retention of atmospheric CO2 in soil organic matter.” Rodale White Paper
What is carbon sequestration?
The carbon cycle is a fundamental part of life on earth. 'Soil organic carbon' (SOC) – the amount of carbon stored in the soil is a component of soil organic matter – plant and animal materials in the soil that are in various stages of decay. Soil organic carbon is the basis of soil fertility.
Sequestration means maximizing the carbon dioxide pulled from the atmosphere by plant growth and minimizing the loss of that carbon once it is stored in soil. ... Regenerative organic agriculture is comprised of organic practices including (at a minimum): cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation.
One of the best things is you don't have to remove existing sod and weeds. You don't have to double dig or work the soil at all. The first layer is either brown corrugated cardboard or three layers of newspaper laid directly on top of the grass or weeds in the area you've selected for your garden. The grass or weeds will break down fairly quickly because they will be smothered by the newspaper or cardboard, as well as by the materials you're going to layer on top of them.
Rodale says “We suggest an obvious and immediately available solution – put the carbon back to work in the terrestrial carbon “sinks”
that are literally right beneath our feet. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is surely toxic to
life, but we are, after all, carbon-based life forms, and returning stable carbon to the soil can
support ecological abundance. “
Anything you'd put in a compost pile, you can put into a cloud garden. The materials you put into the garden will break down, providing nutrient-rich, soil to plant. Add the following materials:
You can make a cloud garden at any time of year. Summer is an optimum time because of the heat breaks things down rapidly. You can let it sit and break down all winter. By spring, it will be ready to plant in with a minimum of effort. Also, fall rains and winter snow will keep the materials in your lasagna garden moist, which will help them break down faster.
Finish off the entire bed with three or four inches of finished compost or topsoil, and plant. The bed will settle some over the season as the layers underneath decompose.
When it's time to plant, just dig down into the bed as you would with any other garden. If you used newspaper as your bottom layer, the shovel would most likely go right through, exposing nice, loose soil underneath. If you used cardboard, you might have to cut a hole in it at each spot where you want to plant something.
To maintain the garden, simply add mulch to the top of the bed in the form of straw, grass clippings, bark mulch, or chopped leaves. Once it's established, you will care for a lasagna garden just as you would any other: weed and water when necessary, and plant to your heart's content.
While you will be maintaining a cloud layer garden the same way you would care for any other garden, you will find that caring for a lasagna garden is less work-intensive. You can expect:
emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change.
We know that agriculture has played a role in creating climate chaos
but, now, with your help, it can be part of the solution.”
Cloud layer gardening is fun, easy, and allows you to make new gardens at a much faster rate than the old double-digging method. Now your only problem will be finding plants to fill all of those new gardens!
“Simply put, recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that
we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely
available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term “regenerative
organic agriculture.” These practices work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the
loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect.”