Hugelkultur!

Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
Is anybody doing this? I'd never heard of it until yesterday, when I read a magazine article about it. I'm so seriously interested and excited by the idea!
 

Peaches Lee

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 19, 2010
2,219
1,020
341
Pennsylvania
I have no idea what this is...but I'm going roughly on German translation: hill culture--hill gardening? LOL!
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Or maybe I'm way off and it's something completely different. Tell me about it!
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Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
Apparently it translates roughly to "mound culture" in German. The magazine article is from Urban Farm magazine, and I thought I'd be able to just link over, but their website doesn't have the article. I guess they can't all be Mother Earth News...

Anyway, it's basically a relative of sheet composting/ lasagna gardening that starts with a huge base of WOOD. Logs, rotten firewood, old boards, tree prunings, etc. You either dig a trench and start piling the wood in the bottom, or just make a big mound on the ground-- article implies that most home gardeners/ urban farmers do 2 feet or so but up to 6 is common in more serious operations. The wood gets covered in layers of other stuff-- various stages of compost, soil, straw. The benefits are supposedly amazing-- super fertility/ bacterial and fungal activity and moisture retention from the slowly decomposing wood, and the re-use of underutilized materials.

SO, I have what was supposed to be a raised garden bed, but it never really got "filled"-- I kept trying to do a lasagna bed there but the chickens kept working it down to nothing.
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It's basically a board box around bare soil. AND, I have two compost bins made of old, falling-apart pallets (because we built the bins 5 years ago), filled with various woody brush from the yard, that are sitting in the way of where the new, PERMANENT chicken coop is going to go. (Free ranging hasn't worked out very well for us, really). And along comes this new-to-me idea that solves both problems! I am going to tear apart the old pallets and line the bottom of the garden bed with them, then throw in all the old woody prunings, top it all off with dirt, chicken compost, etc., and have a full-to-the-brim garden bed.
 

erinszoo

Songster
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
1,923
91
178
North Central Oklahoma
There's someone on the Oklahoma thread that's discussed this before but she's trying to incorporate rabbit tunnels under the whole thing as a way to keep her bunnies cooler in the summer heat. Sounds neat.
 

cmcanallen

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 21, 2012
126
3
78
Tyler, TX
I just read an article off modern homesteaders facebook page about this. We've got a huge brush pile in the backyard that we've been waiting to burn. Just told hubby that he lost his bonfire materials. I'm going to try this in the area that I want to put in my grape arbors. Since those aren't budgeted for two years, I figure I'll have plenty of time to let everything decompose. Below's my plan, let me know if you see anything I'm missing.

The plan:
1- cut down the large branches into managable sizes
2- move the potato bed tires
3- dig out a trench where I want the grape beds to go
4- lay out the branches and leaves in the trench
5- fill in the branches with compost and dirt from trench
6- cover with grass clippings and hay from rose garden
7- spread flower and herb seed mix on top
8- cover with soil from newly dug fish pond
9- plant clover/rye on beds as cover crop for winter

We'll see what I plant after that. I'll take pics as I go along and share how things go.
 

cmcanallen

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 21, 2012
126
3
78
Tyler, TX
Ran into the first issue while clearing out the brush against the fence. Apparently the old owners used the back fence as a dumping spot for old bricks, stepping stones, rocks and concrete; so now I have to clear the junk out before I can continue.

Before pictures:
The back and left side of the fence is where the hugelkulture beds are going. In the middle is going to be a double level fish pond. The tires are my potato beds.
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The brush pile
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Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
Ugh! Any way you can just build on top of the buried junk, instead of having to dig it out?

My first hurdle is that my 2-year-old is afraid of the sawzall I was trying to use to break down the old pallets... Now I've got to add that to the list of things I can only do when he's napping. It's already a LONG list...
 

cmcanallen

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 21, 2012
126
3
78
Tyler, TX
Ugh! Any way you can just build on top of the buried junk, instead of having to dig it out?

My first hurdle is that my 2-year-old is afraid of the sawzall I was trying to use to break down the old pallets... Now I've got to add that to the list of things I can only do when he's napping. It's already a LONG list...
Unfortunately, no. I'm going to need to plant my trellis posts two feet down so I'd have to dig it out anyway. Luckily it looks like it's just a thin layer of junk and I can reuse most of it after I crush it up. It shouldn't take more then a couple hours to clear it all out.

I feel for you with the two year old. My son's 3 but luckily I have a friend who keeps him during the day so that I can go to school and so that both our kids get some socialization. :)
 

Weasleymum

Songster
11 Years
Aug 1, 2008
310
24
148
Virginia
Given the time of year, I think I may just plant the raised (ish) bed with tomatoes, then do THE HUGEL in the fall. Otherwise, I'm just not going to HAVE a veggie garden at all this year! Wish I'd heard of all this a few months earlier, but that's the way it is. Just need to find a place to stash the wooden refuse until then...
 

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