So my boyfriend just bought a house and it came with this dinky little glasshouse. Over the past couple of days I have been scavenging all the organic matter I could from around the property to make some nice hugelkultur-themed raised beds that will hopefully be functional and productive.
1. Harvested old bricks to build the walls.
2. Raided the kindling box for pinecones and small sticks.
3. Layered all the cardboard we had in the house for unpacking.
4. More kindling.
5. Added compost from the pile that was in varying stages of decomposition. Did a bit of weeding and chucked those in.
6. Began dismantling an ugly old camellia that was blocking the drive and added those bits plus some soil I stole from an outside bed.
7. Pruned a kowhai (native leguminous tree) and piled on the trimmings. Added another layer of bricks with gaps.
8. Discovered a bin full of two years’ worth of fallen leaves. On they went. Planted strawberries in the gaps in the walls.
9. Found a deep litter of needles under the one massive pine tree. Covered this with a generous sprinkling of lime to balance the p.H. and add calcium.
10. Finished it off with a thick layer of more soil borrowed from the tired old outdoors raised beds. Planted it with a first crop of salad greens and broad beans to help improve and stabilise the soil in preparation for summer when I will be planting tomatoes, basil, capsicums, chillis and aubergines.
Dobby the kitten approves.
The many uses of straw in the garden! I am putting the 8 free straw bales to good use with 5 straw bale gardens, and 3 bales for garden mulch.
I just finished that section of the brickwork path this last fall (1, 2, 3), made from bricks from the 1950s that I dug up in the garden. The raised beds are my new lasagna gardens, which are part hugelkultur as well.
You’ll have to excuse all the wires and chaos: my husband is a radio amateur, and he has antennas all over the garden right now.
Wattle fences and retaining walls can easily be built from the leftovers of pruning, or from coppiced wood. This technique is the most basic form of fence construction, having been in use since Neolithic times.
I continually harvest apple, dogwood, willow, and hazelnut wood from designated coppicing trees in my yard, because these local species happen to grow both quickly and straightly. There are a number of “fences in progress” that are built higher every time I go around and maintain trees. Preparing materials is easy: I trim the bases of prunings down to sturdy fence posts of a uniform height and circumference; the rest I trim into flexible pieces for weaving the rest of the fence. The leftovers from all of this are piled up in #hugelkultur mounds. I hammer the posts down 1/3 of their height, and the rest is just simple weaving back and forth, between posts.
A big thank you to markruffalo for reblogging this and helping biodiverseed reach a wider audience. It’s oddly encouraging to know you are probably looking in that #permaculture tag with some regularity, just like the rest of us nerds.
Hugelkultur, meaning “hill culture” in German, is a method of raised bed gardening that uses decaying wood as a basis for building up a berm. Berms are useful in directing the flow of water, and protecting more delicate plants from prevailing wind damage.Read More —>
Veggie Bed #4
Cross section of a new no-dig, raised “lasagna” bed // summer growth.
I am mixing three different kinds of raised bed technique here to raise/even the grade, and create a workable soil surface without digging: lasagna gardening, straw bale gardening, and hugelkultur.
#Lasagna gardening is using newspaper or cardboard, layered with compost, in order to build up the height of a raised bed.
#Straw bale gardening is planting crops in fermenting straw bales, which provides heat, moisture retention, and nutrition to crops.
#Hugelkultur (“hill culture” in German) is building up the grade of the soil using logs, sticks, and other forms of wood, and covering with compost, which sequesters carbon, and provides a nutritious, well-drained, elevated, aerated substrate for plants.
- Red Kuri Squash, planted in a straw bale (Thanks to desixlb for the seeds)
- Scarlet Runner Beans, using an old crib as a trellis (Thanks to kihaku-gato for the seeds)
- Hild’s Ideal Brussels Sprouts
- Spring Onions
Hugelkultur, meaning “hill culture” in German, is a method of raised bed gardening that uses decaying wood as a basis for building up a berm. Berms are useful in directing the flow of water, and protecting more delicate plants from prevailing wind damage.
For this simple hugelkultur garden, I have piled sticks and wood, covered them in compost, planted my shrubs, and mulched the resulting berm first with a layer of newspapers, and second with a layer of wood chips.
As the wood breaks down, it will create a rich soil with plenty of air pockets, allowing for excellent drainage and root penetration for the plants planted in the mound.
Hugelkultur raised beds are a form of “no-dig” garden (like the straw bale gardens) making them a good choice for those with impaired mobility or strength. They also sequester carbon, and provide a handy use for all of the trimmings from pruning and hedge maintenance.
My yard has poor drainage, so building up the soil is the only sustainable way to utilise the space without creating a pond. Hugelkultur beds provide exceptional drainage for plants that don’t like “wet feet” (ie. waterlogged root systems).