Hugelkultur – huh?

Tue. Feb. 16, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Hugelkultur- huh?

What’s old is new again. I’ve been hearing a lot about hugelkultur and decided to investigate.  It’s a funny German word that means “hill culture,” or “mound culture.”  Hugelkultur consists of a raised plant bed built up over decaying wood and other compostable materials.    A fallen tree becomes a “nurse log”, decomposing, releasing nutrients, and nourishing new growth above.

Proven Winners has put together a very simple demonstration for the backyard gardener.

hugelkultur logs

A hügelkultur bed can provide nutrients to your plants for years, some say even decades. As the wood decays, it becomes more porous, storing water like a giant sponge, and releasing it slowly back into the surrounding soil for the benefit of nearby plants. In the garden, this equals less watering, a lot less according to some.

Some gardeners have reported that their hügelkultur beds barely needed watering, and thrived all season from rainfall alone. The decomposing wood also generates heat, which is a bonus in colder climates.

There is a LOT of information out there on this type of gardening and plenty of videos!  Here’s one where they are building in an area where there is very little precious soil left:

Mother Nature Network also provides a video and more information.

Permaculture is from the UK and offers lots of info

Recommended woods:

• Apple

• Birch

• Poplar

• Willow

• Alder

• Aspen

• Cottonwood

• Oak

Woods to avoid:

• Black Walnut

• Black Locust

• Redwood

• Eucalyptus

• Cedar

• Cypress


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