I have been researching alternative gardening methods and have come to the conclusion that we will be trying something new with our raised garden beds.
Hugelkultur (Heeg-al kul-tur) is a gardening method that has been used in Germany and parts of Europe for many centuries. The method is making raised garden beds by piling dead, dry and rotten wood then covering it with mulch, compost and dirt. The wood absorbs and retains moisture (from snow, rain and watering) then slowly releases it over time. The wood deteriorates and breaks down into organic matter while releasing nutrients into the soil.
At our 1/4 acre suburban homestead we often have a shortage of rain in the summer. We live on top of a large plateau with many hot and windy summer days. Our garden yields are often challenged by lack of moisture, sun, heat and wind. When it does rain the moisture rarely lasts very long. Hugelkulture is our answer to water retention and soil moisture in our garden beds.
How to Make Hugelkultur Raised Garden Beds:
Once the wood logs were in place we shoveled bark, compost and dried leaves over them.
Finally, we finished off the beds by filling them with a rich organic soil / compost mix.
Note: Within a year or two as the wood begins decomposing the soil temperature will heat up a couple of degrees (similar to a working compost pile). This extra soil heat allows extended growing season opportunities.
Hugelkultur – It’s fun to say! – Jabbear