Hugh M. Lewis

Copyright 2000 by Hugh M. Lewis, all rights reserved.

Super-gardens are the term I have applied to a horticultural method of vegetable gardening I have used over the past six years that has expectably resulted in relatively high yields per unit area of land under cultivation and per input of labor & basic gardening resources like fertilizer, water & sunshine. I have coined the term super-garden not out of a sense of aggrandizement or vanity, but to describe in simple terms the most noteworthy and enduring characteristic of such gardening ventures--that is their superlative abundance of growth and output compared to their levels of input and other basic restrictive factors.

I have systematically and conscientiously applied this set of methods to various size gardening plots over the past six years, having been fortunate to have maintained five separate gardens during as many growing seasons. Over these gardening seasons I've explored new methods and techniques for improving the performance of these various gardens under varying conditions.

The first super-garden was started as a graduate student at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1993. A second super-garden was planted subsequently in 1995 while at my daughter's elementary school in Southern California. Two gardens were planted while in Wyoming during two successive seasons from 1996 to 1998, and the last super-garden was planted this past season (2000 AD) along the side of our house in Southern California. I've been into gardening most of my life, having grown smaller gardens from time to time previously since the early 1970's. I first conceived of the method of super-gardening in the year of 1992-3, derived from previous experiences I had had in various horticultural projects and from reading on related topics.

I found the method to be sound, and having subsequently repeated and refined the basic procedures under varying conditions, I believe that the method has real and distinctive efficacy and warrants further systematic development. The concept of the super-garden was born out of a sense of necessity in overcoming common conditions of limited space, poor soil, crowding, limited time, labor, and resources such as money, fertilizer and even water. At the same time it was born of a sense of utility and beauty in seeing a small gardening project both as a potentially profitable and maximally productive venture, and, at the same time, as a source of sublime beauty and basic connection to nature on a concrete level. There is something fundamentally educational and therapeutic about gardening. The first garden was a clear outlet for an overworked and underemployed graduate student who felt mostly a vague sense of frustration between term papers, semesters, deadlines, examinations and research proposals.

It is not a method without its limitations. Yield, size and variety of produce tend to be much greater compared to similar gardens grown under more conventional ways within the same locale. But there is a tendency for the super-garden to peter out by the end of the growing season, and no amount of coaxing can bring the garden back out of its downward trajectory by late September in warmer climates. Secondly, too great a variety of plants in a super-garden leads to crowding and is difficult to manage without prior planning, and some varieties that demand more area for growth and pollination, like corn or sunflowers, are not likely to be as productive as other kinds of crops. The plots of land I've worked so far have been relatively small, from about 65 square feet to almost 250 square feet, with the average being about 120-150 square feet.

Having refined my methods by trial and error, I've sought to develop a range of novel techniques and tools that would allow one person to systematically extend the size of a super garden to between 500 and 1000 or more square feet of area. I have also sought to devise a system that would enable two or more people working together to extend such an enterprise out to a much larger area without necessarily increasing the amount of labor input per unit of area worked or per person.

By far the greatest amount of labor is expended in the first preparation phase of the garden when the old soil must be turned over and weeded and the initial planting arrangement done--often the level of the garden for drainage must be taken into account.

If the concept of the super garden is to have any relevance in a larger world context, then it must be made adaptable and amenable to efficient horticultural enterprise on a larger scale without a proportionate increase in labor requirements.

Before describing the history of the various gardens, I must state at the outset what I believe to be the basic principles of the super-garden: what makes it work and why it is different from the conventional-styled garden. I believe that there is a core mechanism that drives the super-garden in its florescence and climactic growth. But it is really the holistic combination of a variety of important elements in the planning, organization and management of the super-garden that makes it unique and special compared to the conventional type of vegetable garden. In fact, there is no single element that is, in and of itself, so different from normal tried and true gardening techniques that can be found in varying form all around the world. It is in both the combination and emphasis of these techniques that I believe the critical differences lie.

I believe that the basic mechanism that drives the super garden is in rendering the ground, with the topsoil of about 16-18 inches depth, into what I have elsewhere described as a "bacteria engine." With proper preparation and subsequent management, such a bacteria engine can be developed within pre-planting season months to be capable of supporting and sustaining a tremendous degree of growth. I believe furthermore that such an engine can be produced in a wide variety of soils and even under relatively poor soil conditions.

In all my super gardens, the soils used were relatively poor for one reason or another. The first year in Missouri the soil was basically depleted from multiple seasons of vegetable gardening by students in the same area. No amount of Miracle Grow could get the foreign student's vegetables to pop up. When I first began laying in the ground plan of the garden and leveling it for drainage, a Chinese grandmother came out and tweaked my line level and laughed at me. Needless to say, she never reappeared after the garden finally matured and stood much taller than the surrounding gardens. The apartment manager would bring guests out to walk through the garden. In this garden I planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, beans, sunflowers, carrots, corn and a few exotic Chinese vegetables. Our yield from this first garden was substantial. We had about 18 large pumpkins from two vines that were allowed to trail along the footpaths between the other vegetables and around the outside perimeter of the garden, and daily quantities of squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers during the summer. We distributed most of these vegetables to our neighbors, and kept a few of the larger pumpkins for Halloween.


Approximate ground-plan of first Missouri super-garden, showing spatial arrangement, slope, and drip-system configuration.

The Kindergarten super-garden at my daughter's school ground was basically planted in an unused, weed infested sandpit that was part of some playground equipment. The two gardens planted in Wyoming were under the harshest of soil and climactic conditions. Basically the garden was set on top of a rocky, sandstone escarpment where there was very little top-soil, and the soil itself was mostly fine sand. We actually transported several inches worth of finer alluvial sediment from the other side of the complex where we lived to help bring the level of the garden up above that of the hard-pan and rocky ground that I had to dig out with a pick and shovel. Furthermore, this soil proved to be from a bacterial standpoint virtually barren. It is interesting that the second season in the same location proved more productive than the first season. The last garden was probably under the best soil conditions, though for many years, vegetables and herbs had grown semi-wild in the location having pushed up from seeds from previous seasons.

I've found, by the way, that in successive seasons, the spots tend to continue to be unusually productive, often with the leftover vegetable plants of the previous season reseeding them selves and growing quite prolifically.

It is my conclusion that an effective bacteria engine can be developed rapidly under almost any soil conditions and in almost any climate. It should at least in theory be very adaptable to conditions where soils are depleted or impoverished or where climate tends to reduce growing season or fertility. Wyoming proved that the bacterial engine is temperature dependent. The days did not heat up enough until well into June to get the mechanism going, though the garden had been laid some two months before under plastic. Late frosts killed or damaged many of the plants, necessitating a late replanting during the first season.

The method of the bacteria engine requires what I have called "continuous composting" that doubles as deep mulching. In very dry areas, this can be partially complemented by plastic mulching around the base of certain plants or along the footpaths. In general, I've tended to use grass clippings that were available from the weekly mowing of the lawns surrounding the garden. I usually complement this mostly with two kinds of soil supplement: manure and straw hay. One small garden in Wyoming I mulched deeply with some redwood chips. Sometimes I add sawdust available with the mulch, but only to the upper layers, because sawdust tends to be slow to break down and nitrogen consuming. I've also practice mulching with rocks along with hay and grass--flat sand-stones of various sizes, or standard river rocks, or with plastic cups and tin cans turned upside down. The last season, I had more time to plan and prepare the garden so I took a large quantity of elm-leaves that fell off our Chinese elm in late November, and composted these into the ground for a period of two months before the first planting.

Elm leaves laid in about late November for mulching, covered with plastic trash bags (below) and occasionally turned for about two months, sometimes watered and a little dried urea thrown in for good nitrogen balance.

I add ashes from fireplaces when I can get them, usually only after the plants have first pushed up, and in general I had mostly only organic style fertilizers, including fish emulsion, urea and manure. Urea is especially useful in the early stages of establishing the bacteria engine. Other amendments to the gardens are usually small amounts of broken eggshells and coffee grounds. Lime, gypsum and some kinds of soil conditioner can also be used in the early stages of soil preparation. I would say, whatever is cheap and available is best to use. In the middle stage of the plant development, when the flowers first start forming, then I will add a phosphate-rich supplement to the soil. In the last luffa garden I added a couple of pounds of rock phosphate to about 60 square feet of area.

I would say that from the root-level of the top-soil to the top of the mature garden in July, there will occur with continuous compost-mulching multiple layers of organic matter, soil, manure, covered with rocks or plastic here and there. By the end of the season, things like mulching cups, stakes, drip-tubing, and even rocks, are often lost, buried under one or more inches of composted mulch. Within these variegated layers of mulch, the roots of the plants are kept moist and areated, and are allowed to flourish.



Almost always I try to maintain continuous composting both within and around my super-gardens. In this case, in the last supergarden, I've built five mulching different composting areas in the backyard under and behind larger shrubs. This was a particularly good location and very productive. Once it got started, it took a fresh batch of cuttings every week and only required turning once every other week. I tried to keep the cuttings in this particular spot fine, reserving the coarser stuff for other mulching spots like below.


This spot was sunnier and drier, and coarser leaf cuttings went on top of it. It was similar to the kind of finer Chinese elm leafs that I used the previous winter (1999-2000) to prepare the beds for the Spring planting. These leaves were added weekly in prodigious amounts for about a month until they all dropped off the tree. A little urea was added on top, and then covered with black plastic stripping and anchored with bricks. This was turned with a spade about once a week. By the middle of February, the leaves were sufficiently broken down to allow a planting of the first seeds.

The second major component of the super-garden is a drip-bottle system of irrigation that I've developed. Generally, I've gotten a 5-10 gallon pale or bucket, and attached a nozzle or valve at the bottom, from which I run a 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch drip line. New style soaker drip systems are excellent, and reduce the need to spend excess money on button drippers and hose connectors. I invested in a drip system previously to install in some raised planters around a house. I used leftovers from this project to initiate my first garden drip project. Initial investment in drip-tubing, connectors and drippers/soaker line is well worth the extra expense, as these prove reusable each season, and can last 10 years or longer with only minor replacement of broken or new parts to extend the system.

I adapted an old bucket from a broken wet-dry vacuum. In general, I will elevate the bucket on rocks either on one end of the garden or in the middle or central area. From this one or more tubes will run to different areas of the garden. Most often all the tubing is interconnected with one another so that there are few deadends and maximal pressure can be maintained in the tubes. It is important to have a fine screen over the bucket, usually secured by elastic bands. I've used fiberglass mesh found in window screens in conjunction usually with a finer mesh of silk or polyester screen. This assures the drip lines from getting clogged up. Usually, I will clean off a heavy rock real well, and place it at the bottom of the bucket inside in order to weight the bucket down under windy conditions.


Hypothetical drip-bucket system I designed in 1995-6 in a grant application to the Rockefeller Foundation. This system is very fancy, but is intended to be easy to manufacture and use, being self-contained with its own legs. Grid pattern in the top right hand corner shows a hypothetical arrangement of such drip-buckets that could sufficiently cover a total area of 80-100 feet square (6,400 to 10,000 square feet). Conical system on the right side shows the arrangement of tying baskets that can be used to complement the system. Needless to say, the Rockefeller foundation was not sold on the idea, but it does make great appropriate technology, suitable for a broad range of distressed soil conditions.

The last garden actually had no bucket system, but I attached a soaker-drip line as an extension to a drip system that was already installed and that was connected to an outdoor hose-faucet. I believe the net outcome was little different except that my weekly application of fish emulsion and manure tea had to be done by hand with a bucket rather than delivered directly through the drip lines. Usually the soaker lines will be laid down after the soil has been well worked and the basic configuration of the plants is well established. This is usually at the end of the first month after planting, when the seeds have germinated and are beginning to sprout up so that one can tell where the lines should go between the young plants. Before this watering is usually done with a bucket and a can with holes punched in the bottom to act as a watering can. After the lines are laid out and double checked after a day or two to make sure they are working efficiently, then successive layers of more compost materials can then be laid on top throughout the garden--usually straw, grass clippings, mixed with manure, and covered by large rocks.



My latest super-garden with the soaker-drip system visible in the first row, adapted from a faucet in the front of the house. The soaker line was just laid in down the center of each of the three rows, staked on the center and ends and stretched taught, and winding around in one continuous connection to the sunflowers in the foreground. The sunflowers were planted at the same time, and germinated within a week. Notice the continuous composting with eggs shells and coffee grounds confined to that end of the garden--the rest of the garden is covered with a desiccated layer of grass-clippings, that would be renewed with a new layer of green clippings and manure in another day or two. By June, the sunflowers had reached a dizzy height of about 15-16 feet and had heads at least 18 inches in diameter. You can see them in their mature state in the picture below taken in late June, relative to the neighbors Chimney and towering far above the eaves of the house that would be at the lower middle left side of the photograph. The heads were cut down not long afterward and the leaves removed from the stems and mulched back into the garden. The shafts were left in place to serve as supports for the climbing Luffa vines.



Often in the first month after the seeds have been planted, I cover the rows of seeds with a fine layer of dried grass clippings to provide shade. It is at this time especially that plastic cups or tin cans turned upside down can be used around the new seedlings to retain moisture in the ground without covering over the seedlings. Plastic cups and cans were used extensively in our Kindergarten, and were reused in our Wyoming gardens.

Watering requirements are usually to fill the drip bucket up in the morning each day, then to let it run out after an hour or two. This can be complemented in the afternoons, especially during hot summer days, with additional watering by the bucket/water-can method. Additional watering in this manner every few days helps to facilitate the even decomposition of the mulch throughout the garden. Fertilizer is generally delivered in the form of fish emulsion and urea dissolved in the water of the drip-bucket. Sometimes urea is sprinkled throughout the garden, and occasionally a layer of manure is added to the top of the composting mulch.

Usually in certain areas of the garden, I will establish deeper composting spots where plants are not directly grown, such that I can compost new cuttings and then easily distribute these over the rest of the garden. Most often, I build the compost heap underneath or directly around the elevated drip-bucket--just so long as I do not have to disturb or move the bucket in order to get access with a shovel to the compost.

The last season in Wyoming I experimented with night-crawlers that I purchased from the grocery store and that were normally used for fishing bait. A couple of cartons of these were put in various spots around my garden underneath stones erected to provide shade for them in the hot sun. These earthworms took rapidly to the rocky soil and proved to be beneficial in the process of encouraging rapid decomposition of my compost. This last year I've not needed to worry about this, as the soil already had prodigious quantities of earthworms, but I would like to establish earthworm beds around and within the context of my super-garden in the future in a more deliberate and controlled manner.

At the same time, it is possible to control some insects with the plastic cups used and tin cans used for mulching. I've noticed a tendency for many types of leaf beetles to congregate up underneath the cups in the heat of the day or at night. A little bit of sticky substance or a small piece of flypaper can render them incapable of further destroying young seedlings.

Most of the weeding will need to be done during the initial phase of soil preparation. Deep mulching will assure that most weeds will not find their way to the sun light, especially once the garden becomes well established. Only light weeding needs to be done in the undergrowth after the plants are well established.

The other aspects of the super-garden that need to be attended to is that of the actual ground-plan of the garden and the optimization of the use of sunlight reaching the garden without constant exposure to the sun being allowed to desiccate the soils around the roots of the plants. If wilt is noticeable in the afternoons without extra watering, then it is likely the result of too much exposure of the understorey of the garden to direct sun.

Spatial arrangement of different types of plants in different areas needs to be given special consideration. Along with this is a careful and foreseeing eye to the temporal sequence of planting different types of vegetable plants in succession. Seeds that take three or four weeks to germinate and sprout might need to be planted before faster germinating varieties like corn, sunflowers or beans, that might quickly shoot up and take over the sun before the other plants have an opportunity to compete and establish themselves. Planting can be timed over a period of a month to six weeks.

A related consideration is the tying up and staking of plants. Many plants can be staked and tied at different heights--tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, and sunflowers all require staking and tying. Generally, I've found that the nylon twine used in construction projects to be the cheapest, strongest and most durable form of string to use for tying. Generally, one stake in the middle can be used for tying several plants.

As far as spatial arrangement of the gardens we've planted, I've tried mostly to stay away from the conventional long, parallel rows of plants. Given the overall shape of the area, I usually subdivide the plot into sub-areas and smaller rows running in different directions, in order to accommodate a wider range of plants. Also important in the spatial arrangement are the height of the mature plants, their rate of growth, and the placement of convenient footpaths through the garden area. A garden is not just for growing food and working in. It should also be an aesthetic experience that adults and children can enjoy exploring within. Typically I will add a scarecrow and some whirly-gigs, not for any practical purpose, but because they are a lot of fun for people to see in the garden. I also typically plant flowers along borders and unused corners of the garden, especially marigolds or onions that are held to have a noxious effect on some insects.



Picture of my daughter's Kindergarten supergarden made in Spring of 1996. It was a square area of about 11 feet by 11 feet (120 square feet). We planted bush beans, gourmet lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash & zucchini, strawberries, radishes, hybrid dwarf sunflowers, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Yields were substantial in all the categories. We put in marigolds around the borders and plastic children's whirly gigs. We made a wooden sign reading "Kinder Garden" over the entrance. A circular footpath around the middle of the garden allowed the children to freely go in and explore it. Notice the drip bucket system planted in the middle, covered with mesh, the twine used to tie up all the plants, and the deep straw mulch in the middle. Not obvious in the picture were the extensive use of plastic cup mulching and tin can mulching underneath the different plants. We planted the garden fairly early, in late February, and were able to harvest most of the vegetables before school ended in middle June. Yields, particularly in April-June of that year, were substantial, providing vegetables on a daily basis for the children to take home to their parents. Strawberries were grown in the middle beneath the drip bucket, upon brick terraces, and within which a composting system was established. A drip line spiraled down the bucket and around several times to water each of the strawberry plants.



The garden is presented in about the first week of March, having been planted with three rows of seedlings that are terraced up with odd bricks to the back wall. This area is the most suitable location in the whole house area for a vegetable garden, being along the south wall running end to end in almost a straight east-west direction. The white stucco wall behind helps to reflect the sunlight and heat, especially in the early Spring when the mornings and evenings are still cool. The seeds were covered with a layer of fine green grass clippings. The area is roughly 3 X 20 feet, in total area about 63 square feet. The first lower row was planted with baby bok choi, which we like to pluck early when they are tender and stir fry with soy sauce. The second row was planted with Chinese long beans. They are poll beans that come up fast, reach up just above the eaves of the house, and were ready to harvest by late June and early July. We had about a three-four week harvest from them. The long beans are good to eat only when they are young and the seeds are not yet fully formed within--otherwise they were left on the vine to mature in order to collect the beans for another season's planting.



After the drip lines were put in, and the plants were up above their first leaves, the tying process began in about the middle of March. Notice that the Sunflowers, only about 3--4 weeks old by this time, were already beginning to shoot up fast. Tying for this garden was a complicated process that lasted almost two weeks. I would tie about once or twice a week. It began with a set of stakes on either end of the garden, then cross lines to serve as anchors for the new plants just above the first sets of leaves. Then lines were dropped to this lateral anchor line from the eaves. Larger nylon chords were used as the outside guy lines and at the top for support, eliminating the necessity of sinking too many hooks into the boards of the eaves. Only the Luffa plants in the back, and the Chinese long beans in the middle row were tied. The bok choi in the front row didn't need tying. After thinning, the rows consisted of about 35 luffa plants spaced three to four inches apart, and a similar number of bean plants. Notice the small composting bed in the upper right side of the picture covered by the small piece of plastic. I've maintained this convenient little mulching bed, with a hole dug out of the ground, for many years now.



Just about two or three weeks later, in about the middle of May, the plants are climbing quickly and there growth can be measured daily. The bean plants in front have temporarily overtaken most of the Luffa in the back, except for the ones on the far right that were pretty even in growth and timing. The right side of the garden came in about a week and a half earlier than the left side, and I put in three cardboard panels (2' X 6") that was covered on one side with wide aluminum foil tapped with silver duct tape. The purpose of these panels was to help catch the vertical sunrays and reflect them against the white wall to stimulate growth of the left-hand side of the garden. I believe such panels have efficacy during this brief but important intermediate phase of plant growth, and were used only for two or three weeks before they were essentially overshadowed by the upper growth of the plants. A number of tin cans were also used to help reflect the light--when used in large enough numbers they can considerably increase the brightness and heat of the surrounding areas, reflecting the sunlight off one another when in close proximity, and broadcasting it in wide angles over the leaves.



Within just a month of the previous picture, by about the first part of July, the Garden had reached way above the eaves of the house, and a support system of 8 foot 1X2 furring strips and cross-pieces was erected to support the top heavy plants. By now the panels have been removed, and only tin cans remain to try to catch some of the vertical sunlight filtering in from above and reflect it against the undercarriage where beans are still maturing. By now, the Luffa have overtaken the Beans, and within two weeks the Beans are depleted and dying, and left only with still growing Luffa vines, that continue to grow even as they bear fruit. Within a few weeks the Luffa vines will be reaching to the level of the fence, aiming photo-tropically at the direction of the sun, and all beneath will be cast in shade. By then the cans are no longer useful and were removed. Composting continued, and the central bricks of the rows were removed and some Chicken and Steer manure was laid in, along with grass clippings, and then covered with rocks as a layer of mulch. The soil around the Luffa plants was cultivated a few inches deep without trying to disturb their roots very much.


The garden viewed in about late July from the other end. By now the Luffa have taken over and hang low to the fence level. Luffa melons can be seen hanging from the vine at about head level. The shade against the wall was cool for the house during the dog days of August.

The luffa plants were deliberately planted as part of a luffa project about which I will publish later on. The plants came mostly from the seeds of a single luffa plant that was grown the season before from seeds we brought back from China with us. This single plant yielded 10 full size melons. Based on this previous plant's performance, I had secretly and naively hoped to get as many as 240 luffa melons from the 30 plus plants that reached maturity this season, but so far the count rings in just above a hundred. 

In fact, by the time I was finished, I had gotten about 210 melons in total, of assorted shapes and sizes, of which about 78% were usable and the remainder were either destroyed or too small to be of much use (remaining melons at the end of the growing season when average temperatures are too low to sustain growth).

Luffa showing total yield, not including those melons previously damaged and destroyed. Though I did not weigh the melons in their fresh state, I figured it the total water weight was between 500 and 1000 lbs, with the larger melons weighing as much as 5 lbs. a piece.

 The rate determining factors in this case are primarily the availability of sunlight and the competition of the closely spaced plants for the sun. It is possible that half as many plants spaced further apart might have born as many, and perhaps even more melons, but soil spacing by itself does not appear to be the critically decisive factor in curtailing the number of melons produced per plant. If means can be devised to even out the canopy on top for more sunlight, I believe melon production rates can be substantially increased to almost twice.

I would say that the concept of the super-garden warrants more careful and systematic consideration. I am particularly interested in the following:

1. Extending the methodology of the super-garden to larger and alternative experimental areas.

2. Development of controlled testing areas that will allow careful experimentation of different types and combinations of plants in a consistent manner.

3. Systematic analysis and amendment of alternative soil structures.

4. Application of alternative spatial arrangements and designs.

5. Design & development of special tools that would facilitate the cultivation of such gardens on a larger scale.

6. The selective breeding alternative varieties of plants that might be especially adaptable to such methodologies.

7. The development of alternative systems of mulching/composting.

8. The development & integration of earthworm beds into super-garden spaces.

9. Development of particular varieties or combinations of bacteria that have the capability of functioning more efficiently in super-garden contexts.

10. Development of mixed horticultural systems.

11. Use of trees and arboriculture within the supergarden context

12. Systematic arrangements of different combinations of plants grown in juxtaposition to one another.

13. Systematic incorporation and use of varieties of animal species, both feral and domesticated, within the context of super-garden systems.

14. Incorporation of solar-reflecting devices in critical areas of the garden.

15. Use of material by-products derived from super-gardening ventures for various applications.

16. Extension of super-gardens to small holistic farming and business enterprises.

In conclusion, I would say there is much merit in the concept and methodology of the super-garden, but it requires more systematic development and experimental extension to larger scale projects. The super-garden represents a kind of holistic organic horticulture that is based upon the deliberate manipulation of the bacterial action of the soil for increasing fertility and yield of the ground. Within the boundaries of the super-garden, a unique ecology of garden plants can be rapidly produced that has a variety of benefits and few if any negative consequences. They are applicable and adaptable to a range of conditions that are not otherwise well suited for the cultivation of vegetable crops. There has been repetitively demonstrable efficacy in the development of super-gardens, not only for the pleasure they consistently provide, but from the prodigious fruit they produce. Super-gardens are good for people all ages and of all kinds and dispositions.

For more details please visit my pages related to the luffa project at:

 The Luffa Project