Hugelkulture: Why it Kicks Ass and Why Everyone Should Do It

I learned a great deal of fabulously helpful lessons from Eliza Lord of Appalachian Feet, but probably the most valuable was that the most important thing you can do for your plants is to plant them in great soil and that great soil comes from one thing only: organic matter.

It seems obvious when you look at how nature operates, but sometimes it takes a genius to point out the obvious to the rest of us.

It should have also been obvious that a fabulous and free way to add a foundation of organic matter would be to stack up a bunch of logs and sticks and then pile the remaining dirt on top of that so it can slowly decompose and do a slow release of water soaked up by said wood.

hugel 1

Ohhhhh…

Turns out it was obvious to the ancient farmers who used this method for thousands of years with great success. I guess modern life has a way of blinding us to these things, but I digress.

Hugelkulture (German for “hill culture”) is a totally rad permaculture practice that will result in truly kickass plants for, like, zero money. Here are some pics of the boyfriend laying logs we found on the side of the road in the bed we dug on the side of the house (about half a foot down) next to our driveway.

Check out that fine booty!

Check out that fine booty!

We're not sure what the pipe is, so we worked around it.

We’re not sure what the pipe is, so we worked around it.

The dirt that’s in the bucket was some of what we dug up, which we just dumped right back on top of the wood, making it fairly even with the ground again.

Don’t forget to mulch that shit! We use pine bark nuggets from Home Depot, but next year we wanna try and freesource some wood chips from the dump because we’re cheap bastards.

So the pics above were from back in the beginning of March, and this is what it looks like now:

hugelbed 4

Albeit, we had a smoulderingly bitchin pile of compost full of rabbit poo and commercial kitchen waste (the bf works in culinary) between our hillbilly red clay dirt and the mulch, but to be fair, we planted our other beds in a layer of that too, and the hugels are still winning the garden Game of Thrones by miles.

non-Hugel maters

non-Hugel maters

That window is over 5 feet up...yeah das' right

That window is over 5 feet up…yeah das’ right

I decided to do a second bed out of the greenhouse we made out of haybales and old windows we found in an alley behind a bar once the weather warmed up and my seedling babies were ready to be planted. I filled the space with logs/sticks, compost, and then mulched. It is now our pumpkin and melon patch:

Step 1: Straw Bales Step 2: Fill them suckas' up with sticks and compost and then mulch Step 3: Profit!

Step 1: Straw Bales Step 2: Fill them suckas’ up with sticks and compost and then mulch Step 3: Profit!

Happy Punkin' Plants!

Happy Punkin’ Plants!

Next year, we plan to do all hugelbeds, because it clearly rules the school.

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