Hugelkultur, Mounds, Starting a Garden Bed, Ideas for Use of Hugel Mounds



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I discuss Hugelkultur, what it is, and how to use it when starting a garden bed. I give Ideas for the use of hugelkultur mounds, or hugel mounds in your raised garden bed.

Hugelkultur: German, means “mound culture”

  • Mimics what happens in the forest

  • Helps retain moisture

  • Builds fertility

  • better drainage

  • getting rid of “wooden trash”

  • Creates a fungal culture in the ground, working with plants

  • more surface area to plant in

  • easier to reach plants

So what is a hugel bed? A big mound.

Hugel Mounds

  • usually 5-6 feet tall

  • at about a 60%-70% incline to make picking easier

  • How to build one:

  • Dig a ditch

    • 5-20ft long

    • 3-4ft wide

    • on or off contour?

  • Fill with wood

    • hardwoods last longer

    • gets rid of debris

    • don’t use:

      • cedar

      • black locust

      • black walnut

      • black cherry

    • Do use:

      • Alders

      • Apple

      • Cottonwood

      • oak, poplar, willow, birch

  • Wood is carbon… but it doesn’t rob nitrogen? Fill with nitrogen rich material.

    • Beans the first year (legume)

    • urine

    • green matter (grass, straw, compost)

  • Cover with compost

    • add a couple inches of straw

    • then a couple inches of compost

    • adds organisms to break wood down and adds nitrogen

  • Optional Fungal inoculant

    • spray on bed for quick start

    • white stuff

    • good organic matter will do fine

    • this matter is a key component in plant health

  • Add a layer of dirt

    • all the dirt from digging is put back on top and probably a little more from another location.

    • more green matter mixed in

    • build to 5-6ft, but the height is optional

  • Mulch the top

    • wood, straw, grass

    • for weeds and water

  • the beds will absorb water

  • more decomposition holds more water

  • decomposition creates heat in bed

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