What Is Hugelkultur?

The name is funny, but for those seeking to have a garden that requires less water and fertilizing, hugelkultur is something to take seriously.  The basic idea is to create raised beds on top of buried wood.  It may take a little more effort to get in place, but in the years to come, it will require less attention and resources than conventional beds.


Why Use Hugelkultur

As with any other aspect of homesteading, resource conservation is critical in gardening.  Hugelkultur allows you to make use of wood that is not suitable for fuel or building since you can use wood that is already rotten.  While in the ground the wood will soak up water when the soil is wet, and release it slowly when the soil dries out, greatly reducing or eliminating the need to irrigate.  Wood is a great source of minerals and nutrients for your soil.  As the wood breaks down it will feed your garden from the inside out, providing the nutrients in the plants’ root zone is more efficient.  This will reduce or eliminate your need to continue to fertilize your bed.

How Do You Build a Hugelkultur

The basic concept of building your hugelkultur bed is simple enough.  You just want to bury some wood, and grow on top of it.  The more rotten, and otherwise useless the wood is, the better it is for hugelkultur.  Fresh wood will lock up nitrogen as it begins to decompose.  Wood that already has mushrooms growing on it is perfect.  You can make it level, but a raised bed is better, for one, the wood will shrink while it further decomposes, if your bed begins level you might end up with a depression.  If you need to, you can add more wood and another layer of soil as time goes on.


To make use of otherwise worthless resources on your homestead is something that you don’t want to overlook.  Hugelkultur could save you a lot of work and resources in the long run, and considering it just takes some rotten wood and dirt, you don’t have much to lose if you give it a try.

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