Building a Hugelkultur Raised Bed: Great idea

Views: 1476, Replies: 14 » Jump to the end
Building a Hugelkultur Raised Bed

By dave
July 18, 2011

Sheet mulching is a technique of laying organic material in layers on the ground to build up a raised bed of rich soil for your plants. Hugelkultur is an extension of this technique, where a gardener builds quite tall raised beds using logs and dead branches as the first layer in this bed.

[View the item] Give a thumbs up

Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
Jul 17, 2011 7:10 PM CST
This sounds like it will work! And you already have the high nitrogen fert. on hand. What a great experiment! Keep us posted...
I recently read "Omnivores Dilemma" by Michael Pollard, and it really terrified me to see what we are eating, and why. I wish I had the time, space, and energy to try something like what you are doing.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Mindy03
Jul 17, 2011 7:43 PM CST
Great article Dave. I'm curious about the vegetable one you are planning. Are you going to add material according to what crops like? Such as acidic section for tomatoes? or is it all going to be neutral?

I am considering a herb garden using this method and am wondering if making it a little more acidic for the ones that like it that way is possible by selecting different materials.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jul 17, 2011 8:27 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Carol, I haven't read that book but I know many people who have and it's on my "to read list".

Margaret, this bed has pretty much become Trish's herb garden and she's doing great with it. The garlic did quite well over winter and most of the herbs are looking good this summer.

I'm not going to add any material to change the pH. I do suspect it'll end up being slightly acidic due to all the organic matter that we've put in, especially the wood. The act of breaking down material has an acidifying effect. I will probably occasionally sprinkle some ashes over it to boost the potassium levels and raise the pH a bit.

We did grow a tomato plant in the hugelbed this year and it had quite a nice crop!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 18, 2011 2:15 AM CST
Sounds cool! I especially like the idea that the logs raise the level of the bed pretty high, and you have sunken walkways. I love "no squat planting" and "no bend gardening".

Do the logs form vertical raised bed walls, or do the bed edges slope as the logs subside?

Corey
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Onewish1
Jul 18, 2011 4:34 AM CST
very nice.. wish I had that kind of property
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jul 18, 2011 6:24 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

RickCorey said:Do the logs form vertical raised bed walls, or do the bed edges slope as the logs subside?


You can do this any number of ways. In the case of this bed I have the edges slope as the logs subside.

On one area of it, though, I have added a very large but somewhat thin stone to the wall in order to allow it to be taller with less slope. It worked very well, and using cinder blocks or stones you could make yourself a nice and neat bed with vertical edges using hugelkultur.
Name: Lee
Willis, Texas
Better to give than to git!
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Region: United States of America Permaculture Birds Hummingbirder
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Dog Lover Bulbs Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
TweedleLeeDee
Jul 18, 2011 6:55 AM CST
Great article, Dave!

I used a similar technique, some time ago,...but rather than cart the rotting logs to the site........I made it more labor intensive by building a "drag sled" that I could drive upon with a tractor and drag the rotted debris upon the sled with the tractor w/a large rake attachment. .....and it worked effectively.......I'd find the rotted logs (the crumbled stage) and "rake" the organic gold onto the sled and drag it to my beds ......we had numerous farm animals that provided ample waste-fertilizer for additional organic "stuff".

Where we live, in Willis area...... E. Texas piney woods-sandy soil....acid....needs organic matter much needed.......for nutrients & moisture retention
(much as you describe)....so the hugelkultur technique is highly recommended in our neck of the woods
How about our baby 3 legged frog?
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
Image
Horseshoe
Jul 18, 2011 8:04 AM CST
Looks good to me, Dave!

And here I was going to just start with one small single pile; you've really gone whole hog!

I've got lots of big trees that have blown over due to storms/tornado, the roots sticking in the air and big holes where they were once anchored in. Those are the perfect spots to turn into hugelkultur, just start filling them in, eh?

Great article, nice pics, too!

Shoe
"Hugelkultur-- the original raised bed gardening!"

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Jul 18, 2011 8:34 AM CST
I have been a promoter of permaculture, cardboard mulch, hugelkulture and in general turning throw-a-way garbage into great gardens for many years. The thing I like about your article Dave, is the simple statement and great pictures.
As your readers will come to know, hugelkulture is a powerful concept and a great way to use up waste wood.

I use prunings of invasive plants: chinaberry, mimosa, volunteers of all species, and oak and pine seedings. Its a great way to turn invasive species back into productive land. You can use large logs and stumps, or you can use just woody clean-up from around your property. It all works! I like the innoculated cowpea idea to get the bed started. You can use any kind of peas or beans, and I throw in marigolds as well.

You can create paths around hugelkulture beds with cardboard. Just flatten internet packages and keep the cardboard wet. If you have a shredder, cover the cardboard with shredded wood shavings or wood chips. In a year or two--gardens, no weeds.

Thanks for simply stating a great idea, Dave.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
vic
Jul 18, 2011 11:33 AM CST
That is so cool Dave and a GREAT way to clean up the property as well.

Do you throw your veggie compost stuff in there as well?

Michael Pollan rocks! Shoe lent me his first book and I've read his other two books as well (I still have the book Shoe *Blush* did you want me to mail that back Whistling Whistling )

Our property is big enough that we can cut all dead wood for firewood without cutting live trees but we still have plenty of rotted logs laying around that is beyond what we call poof wood.
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
Boopaints
Jul 18, 2011 2:27 PM CST
Great article... I loved learning something new. Hurray!

There are pine cones all around my property...would those work in my containers prior to adding soil?

I like this idea so much and hope one day to try it. Thumbs up
ALL THINGS PLANTS ~ Garden Art ~ Purslane & Portulaca ~
MY CUBITS ~ Trust in the Lord ~
MY WEB SITE ~ Joyful Times Today
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jul 18, 2011 2:48 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Lee, I love the idea of using a sled to help bring up material out of the woods!

Shoe: sounds like you've got the perfect situation there. Those holes filled with organic matter will become rich gardens, I think. They could also be good traps for moisture. If the land lays right you could make those into rain gardens.

hazelnut, you and I see things the same way! Stay tuned for many more articles from me in line with permaculture ethics!

Vic, I would throw any compostable material into a hugelkultur bed, for sure! When I pull weeds I often put them straight on this bed (roots sticking up in the air so the weed doesn't take root in the bed!)

Becky, -any- organic matter is better than none, and I think pine cones would be fine material to add. I would only be concerned about making the soil too acidic but you can work around that with lime and/or wood ashes.
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
Boopaints
Jul 19, 2011 11:21 AM CST
Thanks Dave!
ALL THINGS PLANTS ~ Garden Art ~ Purslane & Portulaca ~
MY CUBITS ~ Trust in the Lord ~
MY WEB SITE ~ Joyful Times Today
Name: Dahlianut
Calgary, AB Zone 3a
NE Alumni
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seed Starter Region: Canadian Irises Daylilies
Lilies Bulbs Garden Art Birds Hummingbirder Region: Northeast US
Image
dahlianut
Jul 19, 2011 11:56 AM CST
oooo I like this idea. I have alkaline soil and building beds with downed pine and spruce boughs and the plethora of cones that fall off my trees will increase the acidity. I'm going to try this when I tier the front. Thanks dave for a fabby article Smiling
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jul 19, 2011 11:57 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Thumbs up

« Back to the top
« Garden.org homepage
« Building a Hugelkultur Raised Bed

You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

National Gardening Association

© 2016 Dash Works, LLC
Times are presented in US Central Standard Time
Today's site banner is by Dinu and is called "Blue and pink attraction"

About - Contact - Terms of Service - Privacy - Memberlist - Acorns - Links - Ask a Question - Newsletter

Follow us on TwitterWe are on Facebook.We Pin at Pinterest.Subscribe to our Youtube ChannelView our instagram