Hugelkultur - Anybody heard of this before?

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by kckndrgn, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I heard this on a podcast the other day, staring to do some research on it, looks pretty interesting for those people in low rainfall areas.
    Started in 2008, Knoxville Permaculture Guild, became a registered nonprofit in August of 2015 exercising under the Appalachian Community Fund as a fiscal agent.

    Google will return many hits on it.


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    Hugelkulture is the practice of composting large woody material to create a raised garden bed. It is a way of dealing with excess amounts of woody garden wastes, for example prunings, hedge clippings, brassica stems, or brashwood.
    The name comes from German - hügelkultur translates as "hill culture".
    The technique involves digging a circular trench about 1' (30 cm) deep and 5' (1.5 m) wide, in the centre of which is dug another hole 1' (30 cm) deep hole. The material is piled in. Turf (grass) is then stacked face down on top, then layers of compost, well rotted leaves and manure, etc as available. The layers break down slowly and creating rich humus over four or five years. It is claimed that this is ideal for growing hungry crops such as zucchinis (courgettes) or strawberries.
    As the years pass, the deep soil of the raised bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets - so your hugelkultur becomes self tilling. The first few years, the composting process will slightly warm the soil giving a slightly longer growing season, in temperate and cold climates.
  2. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    Oh my God.... we were posting at the same time in different threads. Yes... I'm familiar with it for sure and I've been using it. I've got photos for you.... somewhere if you're interested and I can for sure get more photos for you this summer. I'd steer clear of American websites and blogs and don't join any American "guilds".... the information is out there for the taking without having to pay their ridiculously insane fees for courses and workshops that aren't much more than marketing scams to get into our purses. Run for sites and blogs out of Australia.... the Aussies have blown American permaculturists out of the water by practicing what they're preaching sustainably and in an ecologically responsible manner and they are more likely to rely on locally native species and materials in their designs... for good reasons. I'd look for writings by Bill Mollison, Reny Mia Slay, or David Holmgren. Quite simply stated.... the Aussies went for long term sustainability while Americans went for short term profits by selling permaculture that is anything anyone wants it to be. Any proponents of Toby Hemenway or Sepp Holzer's "teachings" are questionable at best in my opinion.... too much bias.... too much money to be made steering us down the wrong paths and these authors do enjoy cult like followings. I'm not saying we won't pick up some good ideas from these mainstream authors but... we'll get more out of those who realize all children are stuck cleaning up the lands we're not managing sustainably.
  3. Diddy

    Diddy Monkey+

    No, I have never heard of it before. Thank you for posting this!
  4. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

  5. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

  6. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I dig it.. might give it a try in the corner of the yard next spring.
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Hugelkulture is probably better suited to a rural a an urban environment, having hugelkulture beds close to wooden structures may draw termites / white ants to sup on the wooden structure after they have had their fill of the decomposing wood in the hugelkulture bed.
  8. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    Good point....
  9. Evil

    Evil A rock n roll girl loving life!

    hehehe, looks like I have been doing this by accident for awhile! I will have to go check the piles on my property! l
  10. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    I'm also apparently an accidental Hugelkulturist. I've always noticed that the blackberries growing in my field were the most productive when they grew in piles of brush and dirt scraped together by clearing an area; but I never honestly considered using the method for a vegetable garden. It makes sense though. I'll have to give it a try. It's probably how the original users of this method started out - noticing where and how nature produced the best, and attempting to copy it.
    Evil likes this.
  11. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    If you establish raised hugelkulture beds parallel to the contour line of a slope, you will find that the ground around the hugle bed will hold water longer, which would be a bonus for arid climate areas. The rotting wood acts as a giant sponge, which gives up it's moisture to the plants in the soil surrounding it progressively.
    Evil and tulianr like this.
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