Food -> Water -> Community

From Compost to Black Gold: The LEHR Garden System


Soil Regeneration: Explore the science behind regenerative gardening, as we discover the LEHR Garden and learn how the LEHR’s closed-loop system maximizes plant growth, minimizing waste and redefining sustainable agriculture. Transforming kitchen compost and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil while effortlessly nurturing your crops.


0:09 Welcome Ed

1:09 The LEHR Garden

2:06 LEHR Test Results

2:50 Let’s Get Started

4:06 Layers of Substrate

4:54 Closed Loop System

5:24 What to Compost

6:34 LEHR Installed

7:28 Already Planted

7:56 Thanks Ed


Ed (00:04):

Yeah, this is a, this is a garden. It just happens to also produce soil.

Morgan (00:09):

This is Morgan. We’re at the urban farm today, and joining me is

Ed Williams with LEHR Innovations. LEHR is an acronym. It stands for Linking Ecosystems and Hardware for Regeneration. What we’re doing today is a bit exciting. We’re getting rid of our pit composter. That’s where we kind of just like throw everything in and then hope that in six months to a year that we get good compost out of it. We are actually going to be much more efficient with that, with the new LEHR Garden. So this is a composter that we can grow in. We’re going to be able to process not only our yard waste, but also about a hundred pounds worth of kitchen compost a month while we’re growing in it as well. And we’re doing some really exciting things because it’s not technically a garden, although that we get to grow in it. It’s more of a soil generator. So Ed, can you explain a little bit more about the LEHR system?

Ed (01:09):

Yeah, I’d be happy to. So a LEHR Garden is, is basically a self-contained garden system. And so basically what we, what we start with is we have a composter over here. The composter is, is where you would put the food waste and, and stuff like that. And then the water actually pumps into the compost. So as the compost breaks down the nutrients are dissolved in the water, it, it then delivers the water to the garden. So the garden’s actually got a little bit of a slope. And then so the water flows through, drains back down into the tank. So it’s very water efficient. But then after six months to a year, you can actually take that soil out, you know, take out the plants, harvest the soil, sift it, and then rebuild it to start the next batch of compost.

Morgan (01:57):

You just got some exciting new data back from…

Ed (02:01):

I did, yes.

Morgan (02:02):

On, on some of what is in the soil. Can you explain what’s in the soil?

Ed (02:06):

I can, yes. So soil carbon is one of the most important substances on the planet. It’s what grows our food. And what happens is plants take the sugars that they that they produce from their leaves through photosynthesis, and they inject them into the ground. And they do that in a targeted way. Basically create the right conditions for the plants. One of the compounds that really is important for that is, is a compound called GLOMALIN. And until now, there’s no composting system that can create glomalin in a way that’s transferrable because it is only produced by the living ecosystem through the liquid carbon pathway. And we recently got tests back that we have glomalin in our outputted soil.

Morgan (02:50):

This is where the composter used to be. So we had a pit composter. We would just kind of throw everything in here. It would kind of look like this most of the time. And eventually if we dug down deep enough, we would get to the compost that would look like this. But that’s a lot of work. You have to bury it, you have to turn it, you have to water it. With the LEHR Garden we are going, it does all that work for us. We just once a year have to pull it out and put it in the garden and it’s above ground so we don’t have to bend over and do all the hard back breaking work in order to get all of that yummy black gold out of the soil. Yep. We’re gonna get started and put this system in and be back in just a jiffy.

Ed (04:06):

So we’ve got basically sugar cane, wood chips leaves, wood chips. It’s a really, really great diversity of soil material, soil forming materials. It’s gonna be great food for our soil organisms. And then what we do is we just top it off with some finished soil from a different LEHR garden. And what this does is it helps to inoculate the soil. It’ll cover it up, give the, give the plant something to, to help root into. And we already have some lovely black soldier fly larvae in here. So those guys are gonna really help with the composting. And these guys will eat two and a half times their body weight in compost every single day. But this basically is the soil wise ready to plant.

Ed (04:54):

And so basically it’s a closed loop system where the water just flows, flows into the compost, picks up whatever’s broken down in the compost, and then it flows through. And the soil organisms and the plants will take up all of those nutrients and use it to feed the plants and help ’em grow faster. And then whatever the plants don’t use just drains back down to here. Yes.

Morgan (05:17):

We have a present for you.

Ed (05:18):


Ed (05:24):

A LEHR Garden composter works the way most people think composters work, but they don’t. What happens with the LEHR Garden compost is then you need the, a a good mix of greens and browns. And so what happens is the greens are the high nitrogen and pushes the rotting, makes it go faster. The browns are sort of the bulk which creates a lot of the, the biomass that you need. In a LEHR Garden, we’re mostly gonna focus on greens and the compost bin, because all of this is brown, it just washes right into the garden. It gets picked up by the soil organism. So, you know, you can just kind of keep putting food waste in here. It does not hot compost, so anything that requires hot composting like Bermuda grass or pet waste weeds that have seeds on them those will not, are not a good idea. Because They’ll contaminate the, the, the garden. It’s, it’s something that even the, you know, meat and dairy, chicken manure, stuff like that it’ll, it’ll compost it pretty rapidly and add those nutrients right to the garden. And of course, the more compost you put in the fertility’s gonna be provided to a large extent by the, the breaking down compost. And more will help the plants grow faster.

Morgan (06:34):

Well, here we are. We have the completed project. It took us a little over two hours roughly to set it up. Little explanation now that it’s all up and running. It starts here with the water. The water in the tank then cycles up into the composter. We’ve already got some compost from the kitchen. So chefs can bring out the, the kitchen compost. But yeah, we’ve got compost in here already with some amendments and Mycorrhizal fungus, which will then filter through the substrate of wood chips and leaves and just basically stuff from around the yard that will then start to break down over the next couple months. And then it filters through, filters it out, goes back into the drain, and we collect the water again. So we’re using the water over and over again.

Morgan (07:28):

It’s already been planted. We went ahead and planted some. We’ve got the sprinklers on. The sprinklers are only on when we have seedlings in. And when we first get started to kind of get the, the, the wood chips to soak up some of the water a little bit more and start wicking. But we got basil and we planted some cucumber seeds in here. So we’ll just keep you updated on how this looks. Come back and check out the LEHR Garden.

Morgan (07:56):

This is called LEHR. This is Ed Williams, the inventor of LEHR. And you can check out more of his work on his Facebook and Instagram as well as his website, LEHR Garden, no “S”, just Thanks Ed, for coming out to the farm today and putting in our new system. And if you need any more information, it’ll be in the link below. Oh, description below. The links will be in the description below <laugh>. Yeah. And we’ll see you all soon.



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