Friday, May 31, 2013

What is a Hugelkultur?







And how can it help your vegetable growing?

A hugelkuture is a high raised beds filled with organic matter that can include bulky wood, compost, sticks, leaves, sod, brush and more.  The idea is you dig a trench and fill it with organic material and then some so the trench will be full plus a mound above ground. Then you use the dirt you dug up to cover the whole mound. You want the hill to be steep. It is suppose to have sloping sides. That keeps the soil on top from getting compacted because the whole pile will be decomposing and settling as you go.Then you seed a mix of plants to help tie it all together. The growing roots will help hold the loose pile together. Tubers such as potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes are good option for this. Then you can plant it as you would a regular raised bed or you could continue to seed it polyculture style. Polyculture style means keeping all your seeds mixed together and throwing them out in a mumble jumble on the bed. Kids love doing this. 
So why would you do this?

Hugelkutures are great way to keep water in your garden. The trench fills with water when it rains and the decaying organic material holds on to the water like a sponge keeping your seeds and plants watered. It really cuts back on how often you need to water and is great for our dry Texas climate. It is also a great way to compost any large tree branches on your property. A hugelkuture also provides many different micro-climates- this just means, some sides of the bed are shadier, cooler, warmer, or sunnier. This gives your plants lots of good environments to grow. The fun part of polyseeding is that when you mix up a combination of seeds and just throw them on to the bed, different plants will pop up on differnt sides of the hugelkuture depending on what micro-environment the plants prefers.

So what do you think? Are you interested in trying a hugelkulture in your garden?

If you are interested in learning more, you can look up Sepp Holzer's Permaculture Hugelkuture method. He is our go to guy.

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