Okay So I am an avid layer Gardener. I have only been using this method for about 2 years and so far I have to say I love it. I have been using Manure from the cows and horses in the area, grass clippings (mostly), leaves found at a neighbors yard, newspaper ( about 20 sheets cover well and then layered over each other to smother weeds), compost, then another layer of either leaves or grass. Sometimes it is just newspaper and grass clippings to which I then punch a hole in pat down the grass clippings and plant my plant works really well when bone and blood meal are added for nutrients.
I am still trying to figure out the crab grass and how to get rid of it but otherwise it works (mostly because It comes in from the sides of the yard or walk ways I haven’t covered yet).