Build a Hugelkultur Bed


| 11/12/2014 10:00:00 AM


Tags: hugelkultur, permaculture, raised beds, Crystal Stevens, Illinois,

We recently hosted a Free Permaculture Workshop at La Vista Farm. The topic was Hugelkultur Pollinator Garden. The farmers at La Vista Farm partnered with Maxine Pohlman of the the La Vista Ecological Learning Center the Oblate Fathers of The Oblate Ecological Initiative and several dedicated volunteers including fellow Mother Earth News Blogger Annie Kelley. The group was  concerned about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies and honey bees and wanted to build a pollinator garden that would offer both food and habitat for pollinators. We built the beds on an already existing terraced garden. Hugelkultur beds are made to retain moisture, serve as a living bed and support various root structures of a number of different plant species. The basic concepts behind hugelkultur are to utilize existing materials to form living raised beds which promote healthy ecosystems for animals and insects. These beds are low maintenance as the branches act like a sponge to retain water and vital soil nutrients. The beds can be built at any height and typically the sod layer in the bed space is removed with a sod removing tool and placed upside down on top of the final bed and planted directly into. We chose to not go with this method because we were battling with invasive Johnson grass.

The first step was to weed the terraced beds, which was done by hand by a group of dedicated volunteers prior to the day of the workshop.

Beforeterrace1

After terrace2

On the morning of the workshop, the group helped to gather organic materials from around the property (all materials were gathered from within the radius of about one acre). We gathered fallen oak and pine tree limbs and branches and cut them into manageable sections. We raked leaves into one pile and pine needles into another. We scraped and gathered detritus leaf litter mixed with other organic matter from a nearby abandoned driveway. We used spoiled hay bales leftover from Halloween.

piles




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