Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by Chantal
Hugelkultur gardening makes perfect sense, it’s a permaculture based method that I’d like to share what I’ve learned and ask others what your experience on this method is.
The initial concept of the Hugelkulture garden is to use a entire fallen tree, or large branches and mound dirt over creating a three to six foot tall raised garden lump. I decided to build a Hugelkulture style garden for growing my food. After all this garden method makes sense as everything that is needed is within the vicinity of the garden which is important for both building the garden and ongoing maintenance of the plot.
However everything is open to adaption in my opinion, so my Hugelkulture style garden is being made from what I collect before mowing or slashing, garden waste, leaf litter, chicken and cow manure, pine needles, feathers, and anything biodegradable that I need to get rid of that might add to it’s permaculture abilities.
I’ve been adding to my Hugelkulture style garden bit by bit, one thing that stands out to me is that this is not a labor intensive job, a huge advantage is that there’s minimal digging and the selection of branches used are within my ability to move them easily and the beds can easily be extended raised or modified later as needed.
When the garden bed is to a height and shape your happy with, then add soil over the mound and compact it by what ever means is best (one YouTube clip shows a group of friends doing a conga line over their mound however I have just let the rain sort out the placement of the soil in mine).
The concept of Hugelkulture is to grow plants on a composting biomass which will provide a fertile growing medium and excellent water retention. The wood and plant materials as they break down provide the soil with nutrients and as the decomposition process occurs the air pockets formed in the bed also assist the plant growth.
People that have used this method advise that the results are excellent, the beds however do require topping up with more organic debris as the natural process of composting shrinks the beds. But my plan is to just keep on with adding fallen branches and other matter as i need to dispose of it.
There is no tilling required ever, this coupled with being a raised bed that you can access from all sides makes perfect sense for this to be of benefit to everyone, especially those with any mobility issues.
The long term goal for my Hugelkultur bed is for it to be as self seeding and maintenance free as possible. I want a garden that gardens itself and will produce all year round.
I’ve already added some seed potatoes to within the structure, which are just starting to shoot. I’d like to initially aim to have the garden all bolt to seed and do it’s own thing and let the plants take ownership of the bed.
These photos are of the bed so far, you can see the end that was started first as it is built up and covered in soil, then further down the bed it still needs adding to. So far the bed is about 15 feet long and 3 feet high.
It looks small but the nature of the mound means that if I were to only finish what’s there I would have 90 square feet of growing space. The footprint of the mound is about 15×2 feet or 30 square feet. So simple maths says that the higher you go the more grow space can be achieved (there are examples online of beds being supported by pallets or rocks), the other photo is how I collect the branches etc and my support crew.
There’s loads of info available on this method and I’m keen to get your opinion and suggestions.
Resources for this article:
- Earthmom’s Guide to Hugelkultur: The powerful, free, and organic technique to save water,grow robust plants, and save money!
Prizes for this round (ends April 23 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!
- First place winner will receive – A case of six (6) #10 cans of Freeze Dried Military Pork Chops a $300 value courtesy of MRE Depot, and a WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value and five bottles of the new Berkey BioFilm Drops a $150 value courtesy of LPC Survival – total prize value of over $750.
- Second place winner will receive – A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of Federal Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
- Third Place winner will receive – A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.