Saturday, 21 June 2014



Have been reading about 'hugulkultur' and looking at u tube clips.  Decided to try it out here as there is a lot of rotting and not so rotting wood lying around.  So part of the potager has been created by digging a trench, filling it with twigs/rotting logs etc, adding compost and then soil from the trench or the pathways between beds.  It takes quite a lot of effort to set up but I believe from the second year onwards there is no need to water or fertilise ... more research to be done.  In the meantime, some photos of Kev in action:
Above:  A trench is dug, filled with logs, twigs then compost, leaf mould etc added followed by soil from the trench or adjacent paths to make a mound ready for planting.  Hard work to prepare but hopefully less as time goes on.
Some general information on Hugelkultur from the internet:
The following article was found at;

Hugelkultur: Using Woody Waste in Composting

Hugelkultur is an ancient form of sheet composting developed in Eastern Europe. It uses woody wastes such as fallen logs and pruned branches in order to build soil fertility and improve drainage and moisture retention.
If you walk through a natural woodland, you will see many fallen logs and branches on the ground. The older these logs are, the more life they sustain. A log that has rested on the forest floor for five or ten years will be covered in moss, mushrooms, wildflowers and even young trees. Poke at it a little and you will notice that the decaying wood is damp in all but the most vicious of droughts.
Hugelkultur is designed to take advantage of the natural fertility and moisture-conserving qualities of rotting wood, while speeding the process of decomposition up. The heat produced by decomposition also helps protect cold-sensitive plants.
Mushrooms on a rotting log. Photo by tacomabibelot.

How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed

  1. Gather woody waste materials such as dead logs, extra firewood, pruned or clipped branches, and more. The wood can be either rotting or fresh, although already rotting wood decomposes fastest.
  2. Lay the wood in a mound about 1-2 feet high and stomp on it a bit to break it up. You can dig a trench to lay the wood in, if you wish.
  3. Cover the wood with other compost materials such as autumn leaves, grass clippings, garden wastes, and manure. (This stage is optional if you aren't planning to plant the bed immediately.)
  4. Cover the wood and compost with a few inches of dirt and/or prepared compost.
You can either let the bed sit for awhile to rot, or plant it immediately. Among the plants known to do well in hugelkultur beds are potatoes, squash, melons, and a number of different species of berries. Other gardeners plant the bed with cover crops for the first year to improve the fertility even more before adding vegetables or other plants.

Other Techniques

You can achieve similar results, though much more slowly, by simply burying logs and other wood waste in trenches around your yard in areas where you want to improve fertility and moisture control.
In swampy areas, buried logs will suck up significant quantities of water quickly and release them slowly, reducing the chance of standing water or flooding.
In drier areas, the logs will act in the same way, releasing stored water slowly into the surrounding soil and reducing the need to water.

hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds


hugelkultur raised garden beds in a nutshell:

  • grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization
  • has been demonstrated to work in deserts as well as backyards
  • use up rotting wood, twigs, branches and even whole trees that would otherwise go to the dump or be burned
  • it is pretty much nothing more than buried wood
  • can be flush with the ground, although raised garden beds are typically better
  • can start small, and be added to later
  • can always be small - although bigger is better
  • You can save the world from global warming by doing carbon sequestration in your own back yard!
  • perfect for places that have had trees blown over by storms
  • can help end world hunger
  • give a gift to your future self

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