Friday, March 15, 2013

Hugelkultur

We have been very busy working in our garden the last few months.  First we built a tall fence enclosing an area of 70 ft x 60 ft with one 6 ft gate.  We used field fence 4 ft high with 4" x 2" welded wire fencing going up 1 ft and then bending outward away from the fence for 1 ft, which will keep burrowing animals out.  Finally, we put bamboo poles up about 6 ft off the ground all around the top to keep deer out.


Next, we put in two Hugelkultur beds.  Hugel is german for mound, as the beds are mounded up high.  First the bed area is de-soded and the sod is set aside.  Next, dirt is dug out of the bed to about 8 inches deep.  The sod and dirt are carefully set aside as shown below.  This bed is 15 ft long and 4 ft wide.


A layer of logs and branches is then put into the bed.  We have lined the perimeter of the bed with 1/4 in hardware cloth to keep voles out of the bed.  The hardware cloth goes about 6 in below the ground and extends about a ft above the ground.  Voles are field mice that are common in this area.  They like to eat the roots of young trees and vegetables.  Fortunately, we have lots of snakes and snakes like to dine on voles!



The sod is then put on top of the log layer, grass side down. 


Another layer of branches is put on top of the sod, followed by a layer of dirt and compost.  Finally, the whole bed is covered with hay.



Our garden is on a slope and the Hugelkultur beds help to capture and store water when it rains.  The beds are aligned with the long side along a contour, so rainwater flows into the pit under the bed and soaks into the logs, which are good at taking up and storing water for long periods.  The logs we used are already old and in time they will break down and add organic matter to the soil.  We are lucky to have pretty good loamy soil and many earthworms, and the beds will provide a good environment for the earthworms.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a really good hugelkultur bed. Hope you get lots of vegetables growing on it.

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