Hugelkultur, pronounced hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound.
A Hugelkulture bed is when you dig down around half a meter (to create a large hole) and fill the space with logs, branches, kitchen and garden waste, mulch etc, adding in a some of the soil you took out along the way and watering it with each layer. You keep going until the bed is then about half a meter tall, adding in smaller items the higher you get, with additional compost/horse poo etc.
After a year or two your beds will drop dramatically and will become level with the ground around them (that’s when we added the logs around the beds so we knew where the edges of the holes underneath were).
It’s a lot of additional work what doing raised beds or no dig beds, but it’s totally worth it, because…
Due to the large hole under you beds and the logs etc you would need to water so much, in fact about a third as much as normal beds, which is amazing for hot countries such as here.
The decaying wood etc provides a source of long-term (for up to 20 years) nutrients for your plants.
The growing season is believed to be longer due to the heat generated from the decaying wood.
Hugelkulture beds basically mean you produce crops with less water and for a longer period of time. We even have them under our greenhouse and poly-tunnels here, helping to warm them in winter months and retain more water in them in the insanely hot summer months.
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