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This is a pretty amazing gardening technique. Have you ever heard of Hugelkultur? I hadn’t until I read this article by Debra of DIYNatural.
Hugelkultur translates to “hill culture.” You make raised garden beds using wood logs and brush as a base. You add soil over the top of the logs. Another site recommends sowing seeds right away and using mulch if needed. Over time microbes in the soil start to break the wood down. This adds nutrients to the soil. The wood is composted under the soil, retaining water and nitrogen. It greatly reduces the need for watering or irrigation. After the first year, it becomes self-tilling, so you only need to plant, harvest and enjoy. The method lasts for years, so you don’t have to till and weed each year.
Debra shares which wood works best for this method. Another advantage of Hugelkultur is you can start as small or big as you’d like. Debra mentions building piles of logs 6 feet tall which seemed awfully tall. But according to another site, the wood shrinks a lot in the first few weeks.
You could also set up a small test area in your garden. Lay logs and brush 2 or 3 feet high, cover them in soil and brush, and go with that. Plan some seeds right away, and again add mulch if you’d like.
If you’d like to read more about this method, this is another great link about HugelKultur that includes diagrams and a video. The method has some exciting applications in dry areas where gardening is normally impossible, or in small urban lots.
For Debra’s great post click below.