Did You Know? Hugelkultur is a Way to Garden Without Watering

 

Happy Monday to everyone! I’m really excited about today’s post. It deals with hugelkultur, which is a way to garden without watering. Let me start this conversation by giving you two links that can provide a more thorough explanation regarding this way of gardening. The first is from Paul Wheaton (he’s hilarious by the way) at www.richsoil.com. You can find the direct link to his hugelkultur article here. The second link is from Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast. Here is a link to a podcast that he did about hugelkultur. Without these two men, I would have never learned about this way to garden without the need for additional water.

The brief story of hugelkultur goes like this: you can either dig down and put logs in the ground or stack logs on top of the ground. Either way, you add soil and compost to the top and then plant…that’s it! The rotting logs hold moisture and keep it available for when the plants need it. Have you ever walked through the woods, even in a drought, and noticed a rotting log? It’s full of moisture and that’s the key to the success of hugelkultur. Sometimes the most difficult problems can be solved by the simplest methods and this is one of those times.

This weekend, my family partnered with the Taylor family to build two hugelkultur beds for our joint vegetable garden. This will be our third year gardening together and the Taylors are always willing to try new ways of gardening. Last year we built six 4’x4′ square foot gardens and they were a wonderful success. I just know that the hugelkultur beds will be a blessing this year! Let’s dive in to the pictures!

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This is how the bed looked before the sides were put on

 

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The beds are approximately 19" deep and they are 4' wide by 17' long

 

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Here's the construction zone where the men were constructing the sides and ends

 

 

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The kids thought that the area made a great place to ride bikes and play...who can blame them?

 

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Putting the sides on the bed

 

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And the ends...

 

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Here are the kids again...there's Maya, Maddie and Myles. Maddie and Myles are our two little dirt loving kids

 

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The first logs are getting ready to go in the bed...exciting!

 

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The bed is full of rotting logs that will provide moisture for the vegetables that will be growing there this summer

 

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Once the logs were in place, we covered them with a layer of garden soil

 

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The beds are ready for compost! We were fortunate enough to have access to horse manure from a neighbor

 

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Here is the bed with a full layer of compost

 

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We added a top layer of garden soil...we would have mixed the soil and compost but at this point it was raining

 

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Here is the finished product...for the day anyway. We completed two hugelkultur beds

 

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Here are the beds from another angle

 

I forgot to mention that the total depth of the beds is 3.5′. If I were a plant, I’d like to live there! I am very excited about the veggie garden for this summer. I want to thank Sean and Anna Taylor and my wonderful husband Ed for all of their hard work. Sean obtained all of the wood that we used for the beds from old horse fencing, him and Ed built the wooden bed frames and Anna watched the kids when it started raining. I also need to thank Tyler Shumate for helping us obtain the composted horse manure…if there was one earthworm in the compost there were a million! If we have a summer like last year where it seemed to rain every other day, we won’t be able to tell how effective the beds are. But something tells me that this summer will be a typical Mid-Atlantic gardening summer where drought prevails. If it does, I am hopeful that these two beds will be able to survive the season with no additional water. I’ll keep you posted! Let me know your thoughts by leaving me a comment below or e-mailing me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

 

February 6, 2012Permalink 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “Did You Know? Hugelkultur is a Way to Garden Without Watering

  1. Hey Stacey, would love to try this as we can get lazy w/watering esp on really hot days..what did you make the sides with??? Enjoyed the pictures. -Denise

  2. Sean, in his never ending resourcefulness, had some old fencing boards that we used to build the sides. If you’re talking about the white plastic on the inside of the wooden boards, again it was some recycled plastic that Sean had obtained. I hope you have a chance to try it out…it’s been used successfully all over the world and can be scaled up or down to fit your needs. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you!

  3. This is a wonderful idea and I look forward to it this summer doing it’s job. You forgot to mention the wonderful dinner, chilli from the tomatoes we canned this summer. Hopefully, we’ll have even more this summer.

    The pics look great (from start to finish).

  4. Me too Anna…no more muddy showers for you! 🙂 And yes, we did enjoy a delicious homemade chili dinner with tomatoes from last year’s garden. As always, you’re ahhh-mazing.

  5. Pingback: Reader Question: Growing Tomatoes in ContainersMid-Atlantic Gardening

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