Hugelkultur: German-style Raised Garden Beds
I am trying a new technique this year for my raised beds that my wonderful husband built me you can read all about it here. The technique we are stying is called Hugelkultur a German-style Raised Garden Beds.
Since I now have 7 raised beds 5 of them are 8X4X2 and two of them are 4X4X2 which means they need a lot of fill. In the past when we had raised beds we ordered a big load of soil. I have since learned so much about gardening. For the last 3/4 years, we have been lucky enough to be able to grow a large vegetable garden at my Father-in-Laws he has a beautiful piece of property.
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Hugelkultur is essentially making raised garden beds using wood logs as a base. The word Hugelkultur roughly translates to “hill culture.” The microbes in the soil start to break the wood down and add nutrients to the soil. The wood is composted under the soil, retaining water and nitrogen. After the first year, it becomes self-tilling, so you only need to plant, harvest and enjoy. Sound simple? It really is.
Hugelkultur, pronounced Hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound.
Instead of putting branches, leaves and grass clippings in bags by the curbside for the bin men… build a hugel bed. Simply mound logs, branches, leaves, grass clippings, straw, cardboard, petroleum-free newspaper, manure, compost or whatever other biomass you have available, top with soil and plant your veggies.
The advantages of a huge bed are many, including:
The gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants. The composting wood also generates heat which should extend the growing season.
Soil aeration increases as those branches and logs break down… meaning the bed will be no-till, long term.
I’m excited to try this method and see how the vegetables grow!