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How to make a 60 cm deep bed
For soil improvement and high yield
Patlekhet, Kavre, Nepal
MODIFIED by Gaia U international 2021

Materials required:

  • Dry grasses, dry leaves, dry branches, about 400 liters
  • Green grasses, green leaves, other green biomass, about 400 liters
  • N2 + nutrient stuffs – examples; seed cake, wood-ash, about 4 to 6 handfuls

Begin with laying out the bed – 120 cms is a good width and any length. All data based on beds 10m.sq area

BEGIN LEVEL 1: Layer 1-BROWN, Layer 2-GREEN, Layer 3-N2 stuffs + ASH, Layer 4-SUBSOIL

10 cm Topsoil goes to one side
Subsoil goes to other side

Begin 10 cm Brown: Up to 2.5 cm thick sticks & stalks

60 cm deep bed starts with 3 levels, each has 3 layers about 10 cm thick

Finish brown layer with small dry stalks and dry leaves

Begin 10 cm green layer: Green biomass & leaves

End 10 cm thick green layer

Benefits of deep digging:

  • Quick soil improvement
  • Nutrients are balanced
  • High water holding capacity
  • Roots go deep,plants grow big
  • No-till for 5 to 7 years before redoing

Add N2 stuffs (3 to 4 handfuls) + wood ashes (3 to 4 handfuls)

Add Subsoil – 10 cm thick

END LEVEL 1: 30 cm thick
3 layers – wet these

BEGIN LEVEL 2: Layer 1-BROWN, Layer 2-GREEN, Layer 3-N2 stuffs + ASH, Layer 4-SUBSOIL

Make Level 2 the same as Level 1 except use only thin stalks and dry leaves in the dry layer.


BEGIN LEVEL 3: Layer 1-BROWN, Layer 2-GREEN, Layer 3-N2 stuffs + ASH, Layer 4-SUBSOIL.

END LEVEL 3: Finishes at about 60 cm deep (surface level) as materials compress.

BEGIN LEVEL 4: Same as Level 3 – Subsoil layer (use it all) will be thick or thin depending on how many stones are removed. If 20 cm thick add 20 Kg compost. If 10 cm thin add 10 Kg compost.

Now make LEVEL 5 from topsoil and compost

  1. Divide topsoil into 4 parts
  2. Mix 3 parts topsoil with 10 kg high N compost and layer onto bed
  3. Add remaining topsoil to bed and smooth it out, ready to plant

For rainy season beds provide good drainage profile

For dry season beds raise bed edges 2 cm to hold in water

Cross sections of finished beds

High N2 stuffs include cow/human urine, composts made with 20% biochar content, vermicomposts


  • 60 cm deep bed. Longest lasting. Labor intensive. Contains most nutrition and holds most water. Plants can root deeply.Maintained with U Bar digger can last 5 to 7 years or more before reconstruction.
  • 30 cm deep bed. Less layers so 50% less nutrition and water holding. Good for shorter rooted plants. May last 2 to 4 years before reconstruction
  • 10 cm deep bed. Made on the surface using compost and mulch. Quick and effective for short term. Can eliminate troublesome weeds with light barrier.