Hugelkultur Bed I – Part 1


“Used for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur (in German hugelkultur translates roughly as “mound culture”) is a gardening and farming technique whereby woody debris (fallen branches and/or logs) are used as a resource.

Often employed in permaculture systems, hugelkultur allows gardeners and farmers to mimic the nutrient cycling found in a natural woodland to realize several benefits. Woody debris (and other detritus) that falls to the forest floor can readily become sponge like, soaking up rainfall and releasing it slowly into the surrounding soil, thus making this moisture available to nearby plants.”

From The Art and Science of Making a Hugelkultur Bed – Transforming Woody Debris into a Garden Resource from

I have completed the frame for my 4 cubic yard hugelkultur bed as you can see above. I have also loaded in about 1 cubic yard of wood. I will be topping the wood off with another half yard of leaves before filling the bed with soil. The soil will be a mix of composted manure/mulch, rice hulls, and topsoil that should make this bed ready to plant after a few days of watering to begin saturating the bottom. I had an absolute blast building this bed – an opportunity to share a day of hard work with my dad and my sons. It was a great sense of accomplishment to finish and later realize I have muscles in my body I’d forgotten. My dad & I are both consummate perfectionists (and overkillers) when we build something. But we focused on doing this “good enough”, ending up less than an inch out of level across the entire structure. This was truly so easy 2 cavemen and a boy could do it. I borrowed the idea for the shape of the bed from a magazine my wife picked up at Lowe’s and modified it to suit my dimensions and scale. Next up will be getting the aforementioned soil into the box and staining the visible parts of the bed for aesthetics.  I’ll post updates as they happen. In the meantime, here are some other hugelkultur resources:

Raised Garden Beds – Hugelkultur Instead of Irrigation via Paul Wheaton at
Hugelkultur: Using Woody Waste in Composting via kerryg at HubPages


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