What Is Hugelkultur?

Posted by @Artistwantobe on
Hugelkultur is an ancient method of raised-bed gardening, one that utilizes fallen wood. It has been used in Europe for centuries. In German it translates to "mound culture." Building one of these mounds takes a bit of work, but it will last for a long time, and it will be a self-watering, self-feeding, and self-composting raised bed! I have built mine in the vegetable garden, but you could have one serving as a perennial flower bed.

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Method of building:
Remove sod and reserve.
Dig a wide trench. Reserve dirt nearby.
Make a pile of wood in the trench. Top with branches, dead-headed flowers, and garden debris.
Cover it with reserved sod, grass side down. Add some compost if you have it. Cover with newspaper.
Cover with 3-6 inches of soil. The newspaper keeps the soil from falling through the wood. Then top with straw and start planting.

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Why would you want hugelkultur beds? Let me count the ways.
It's a great way to use up wood and fallen branches.
The beds are self watering and self composting.
The beds are really raised beds. You can pick bush beans without bending over!
The wood acts like a sponge and soaks up rain, providing moisture for the plants. The wood starts decomposing and invites worms and fungi, which feed the plants.
The first year the plants do OK. Best to plant things that do not demand much nitrogen. You don't need to water much.
The second year, it gets better. All you do is water when you plant.
The third year, plant and stand back! It becomes a self-watering, self-feeding, and highly fertile raised bed.
When the material decomposes and the mound gets smaller, just add more branches and debris. A self-composting productive bed!

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Empty 2 liter coke bottles by Dragonkeep Apr 2, 2016 6:54 PM 0
Hugel Culture on the tiny by CajuninKy Mar 28, 2016 7:57 PM 0
Modified the method by greene Mar 28, 2016 2:09 PM 4
Glad I read this first! by LorettaNJ Mar 26, 2016 7:39 PM 0
I love this idea but... by Weedwhacker Mar 26, 2016 1:48 PM 11
Untitled by DomehomeDee Mar 26, 2016 9:11 AM 1
Untitled by bimpossibl Mar 26, 2016 5:32 AM 0
Great idea by Toni Mar 21, 2016 11:25 AM 0
scale of city lot? by CarolineScott Mar 21, 2016 9:48 AM 0
Untitled by bhart90 Mar 21, 2016 5:48 AM 0
Absolutely! by chelle Mar 20, 2016 6:07 PM 0

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