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Hugelkultur – the Best Raised Garden for Low Maintenance. What’s hugelkultur and when would you use it, and how do you say it anyway?

Hugelkultur – the Best Raised Garden for Low Maintenance

Pronounced something like: Hoogle-culture, this centuries old method of raised garden beds, has migrated to the west and been eagerly adopted by permaculture fans and those with problem soil and terrain. Who tends nature’s garden? Who is out in the forests and fields adding soil amendments and fertilizer? Just Mother Nature of course. Modeled after Mother Nature’s example, Hügelkultur (also spelled huegelkultur), roughly translates from German as “hill culture”), hugelkultur is especially beneficial for those living in or near wooded areas. Nature is the best classroom. Practiced in German and Eastern European societies for hundreds of years, hugelkultur utilizes just three ingredients—like nature—to create an incredibly fertile environment for gardening: wood, soil and mulch.

Don’t Try Building Hugel Swales – This is a Very and I Mean Very Bad Idea. Let’s start out with a basic understanding of what full scale Hugelkultur and full scale swale based systems are.

Don’t Try Building Hugel Swales – This is a Very and I Mean Very Bad Idea

Then we can jump into what they are not and why combining them can be a very bad idea. First, as most permies know, a swale is a ditch on contour. They are also tree growing systems, and are not designed to grow annual gardens. They do a great many things well. Swales can fill ponds, prevent erosion, create pattern framework and the big one everyone focus on, they infiltrate water. Don’t get me wrong you can get a lot out of small scale swales and swale like paths for gardening, etc. Second what actually is a Hugelkultur? Now let’s discuss what Hugelkultur is. The purpose of this mound is twofold. 1. 2. How do I know this? I hear cries of heresy and blasphemy, but I am just telling you the way this system is actually used successfully. 1. 2. The primary purpose of hugels is building soil, production is of secondary concern. Something had to be done, so Sepp buried them. Hugelkultur. Hugelkultur (HOO-gul-culture) meaning hill culture or hill mound.


Instead of putting those branches, leaves and grass clippings in bags by the 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 hugel bed are many: The gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants.

A large bed might give out a constant supply of nutrients for 20 years (or even longer if you use only hardwoods). Soil aeration increases as those branches and logs break down...meaning the bed will be no till, long term. The logs and branches act like a sponge. Sequester carbon into the soil. Hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds. Raised garden bed hugelkultur after one month raised garden bed hugelkultur after one year raised garden bed hugelkultur after two years raised garden bed hugelkultur after twenty years It's a german word and some people can say it all german-ish.

hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds

I'm an american doofus, so I say "hoogle culture". I learned this high-falootin word at my permaculture training. Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. I do think there are some considerations to keep in mind. Another thing to keep in mind is that wood is high in carbon and will consume nitrogen to do the compost thing. Pine and fir will have some levels of tanins in them, but I'm guessing that most of that will be gone when the wood has been dead for a few years. Hugelkultur, nature's raised garden beds.

FOR 25 YEARS I have grown my vegetables in raised beds, but the kind that you need to purchase lumber and bolts and use a saw and hammer to construct, then fill entirely with soil and compost.

hugelkultur, nature's raised garden beds

Lately I’ve been looking longingly at photos of a centuries-old, sustainable way of making raised garden beds called hugelkultur, or hill culture. “It’s like sheet mulching or lasagna gardening,” says Dave Whitinger of All Things Plants, who regularly lectures on the subject, but in hugelkultur, “wood is the first level of your sheet-mulched bed.” In print or my latest public-radio show and podcast, hugelkultur 101 with Dave (whose robust hugelkultur onion bed that is up top). prefer the podcast? HUGELKULTUR was the subject of the latest edition of my weekly public-radio program, a conversation with Dave Whitinger of the thriving All Things Plants web community. Right to mounds. Jardins en buttes à l'écocentre du périgord On les voit fleurir un peu partout, elles représentent une vraie révolution dans notre relation au sol et notre façon de cultiver.

Right to mounds

Symboles par excellence de l’agroécologie mais surtout de la permaculture (avec la poule), elles n’en sont pourtant qu’un élément parmi d’autres. Buttes en "Hugelkulture" de Sepp Holzer, Autriche. Chez Sepp Holzer, ce n'est pas à la pelle et à la pioche, mais au tracto-pelle que sont créées les buttes de culture selon le principe d'hugelkulture, sur une propriété de 45 ha.

Buttes en "Hugelkulture" de Sepp Holzer, Autriche

C'est au Krameterhof, que ce superman de la permaculture exerce une activité d'agriculture durable très diversifiée, en réinstallant des écosystèmes complets comprenant cochons, yaks, poissons d'élevage, des centaines d'espèces de fruitiers, de légumes, de céréales..., sur des flancs de montagne, auparavant plantés de pins en monoculture (produisant la fin de la biodiversité, l'érosion, des innondations...) Faire un tas en "hugelkulture" consiste à empiler toute sorte de matériaux bio-dégradables allant du tronc d'arbre entier à la pelouse arrachée avec sa terre... en passant par une vieille couverture en laine... !

Le sol ainsi constitué sera aéré et permettra la libre circulation de l'eau et de la grande diversité d'êtres vivants qui vont y trouver le gîte et le couvert. JooComments powered by