Building a Hügelkultur: A First Attempt Guide
Spring is coming, I can feel it in my bones, which means it’s a good time to prepare my raised beds! Hence my impulse driven project of chopping up my Christmas tree and building a hügelkultur as dusk started to fall.
For those who don’t know, a hügelkultur is a German permaculture-esque practice of burying logs and branches with compost to create a raised bed. As the wood decomposes, it releases water and nutrients that the plants can easily access, meaning you don’t have to fertilize or water as often. Sustainability rocks!
Step 1: Dig a big hole. I’m doing this in raised bed boxes, but you can do it anywhere.
Step 2: Lay a bed of logs and branches, logs on the bottom, branches on top. Make sure you have a decent layer, branches like to spring but the woody material is what holds all the good stuff. I’m only using the branches, since the trunk of the tree is going to be firewood, but this has been done with full trees. Like, full maples. Big ass trees.
Step 3: Organic material! Kitchen scraps, partially decomposed compost, garden cuttings. I have a camellia that drops it’s flowers all over my pathway, so I was able to use those and do a bit of witchcraft while building this thing.
Step 4: Brown material! All those dried leaves, the soggy mess from your gutters, all of it. Plop on top.
Step 5: Cover it all up with a layer of fully composted material and the soil you dug out when you made that big hole.
This raised bed will be decomposing for several years, and as it decomposes, the soil will get richer and richer. As it is, it’s a really soft and springy bed, great for root systems.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this guide!