Experimentation with Hugelkulture


| 5/12/2017 11:12:00 AM


Tags: Sean Mitzel, Monica Mitzel, Idaho, The Prepared Homestead, hugelkulture, Huckleberry Mountain Homestead & Breakfast,

 

On the surface it makes sense that hugelkulture would provide many benefits including: increased microbial activity, low maintenance, decreased water requirements, increased planting surface area, nutrient release from rotting wood, turns a waste product into an asset and increased soil temperatures from some composting action.

However, we wanted to test it and be able to see those positive results for ourselves.

What is Hugelkulture?

Essentially it is taking course woody debris and fine organic matter and covering it with soil. This creates a raised bed with a microclimate that can be used to suit different plants in close proximity. In a nutshell, that is hugelkulture (mound - culture). The bed can be relatively small and low to the ground or hugel beds can carry on for thousands of yards and be six feet tall or even higher.  Sepp Holzer is probably best known for utilizing hugelkulture and the technique is well known in the permaculture world but is not exclusive to that movement.

What Are the Benefits of Hugelkulture?

Several points were mentioned above but let me expand on a couple of points.

One of the main benefits promoted with hugel mounds is water retention in the woody material that provides moisture for plants during periods of drought. Depending on climate and the site this could result in no need for irrigation or at the very least reduced irrigation. Have you ever walked through a forest and kicked an old rotted out log? It might not have rained for weeks yet digging into that rotted material and you find moisture. Rotted wood soaks up water like a sponge. That is what will happen inside of a hugel mound.




Crowd at Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Sept. 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, PA.

With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.

LEARN MORE