Here’s a tour of our one year old hugelkultur forest garden of 50 feet x 100 feet.
“What is hugelkultur?” you ask?
Hugelkultur is the burying of woody material to create a raised garden bed. Whole trees, limb prunings, hedge clippings, brassica stems, and any other woody material can be used. Often, herbaceous plant material is placed on top of the wood, to provide a source of nutrients that will break down quicker than the wood.
The name comes from German – hügelkultur translates as “hill culture”.
The technique can vary but what we did involves digging a trench about 1′-5′ deep and 3′-5′ wide. The material is piled on, with the thicker wood being placed at the bottom, getting thinner as you get to the top. Turf (grass) and/or hay is then stacked face down on top, then layers of compost, well rotted leaves and manure, etc as available. The layers break down slowly and creating rich humus over many. These beds are ideal for growing anything from trees to above-ground vegetables and herbs, to root crops.
As the years pass, the deep soil of the raised bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets – so your hugelkultur becomes self tilling. The first few years, the composting process will slightly warm the soil giving a slightly longer growing season, in temperate and cold climates.
I realize that it’s a long video but I felt that editing it down would leave out valuable information. Think of it as an exercise for your attention span? Or there’s always the pause button. I had edited in an ambient music track throughout the tour but the music isn’t showing up on the youtube upload for some reason. If I figure out the problem I’ll repost the video with the audio track, as it helps the pace of the video. In the meantime I’d suggest putting on some music in the background as you watch the video. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy…