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!! Steps to build a hugelkultur bed

 
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Let's Build a Hugelkultur Bed!

Are you familiar with what a hugelkultur bed is but unsure how to build one? Then this blog post—How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed—will help you take the next step and build your own hugelkultur bed.

This is part 3 of a multi-part series all about hugelkultur beds.

1. Hugelkultur Beds: The Best Raised Beds for Your Garden
2. 5 Hugelkultur Variations and What You Need to Know
3. How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed - current post

If you are new to hugelkultur beds then I recommend checking out the first post in the series and then the 2nd to get a feel for the different types of hugelkultur beds.

This week’s post focuses on what you could call the traditional hugelkultur bed. That is the type of hugelkultur bed that is built above ground using logs and soil to fill in the gaps. Though you could easily modify the steps to build your bed partially underground.

Have you built a hugelkultur bed? Leave a reply with any thoughts you have about how it went and what you would recommend to someone just starting out.

Steps to Build a Hugelkultur Bed



The steps to build a hugelkultur bed are actually fairly simple but there are some details that you need to watch out for that can make a big difference.

Here are the 5 steps to build a hugelkultur bed covered in the post.

1. Placing the Large Wood
2. Adding the First Soil Layer
3. Adding the Medium-Sized Wood
4. Adding the Second Soil Layer
5. Topping the Hugelkultur Bed Off with Mulch

These steps are fairly straight forward, and the post goes into detail on each. Now onto the details I mentioned earlier.

I tend to be very careful while building my hugelkultur beds to make sure there is soil, sod, manure, etc. between every piece of wood. I want all those gaps filled as much as possible to minimize the sinking that can happen.

I also want to make sure that plant roots can easily find their way through the hugelkultur bed without running into dead end air pockets.

This has the added benefit of reducing the number of ready-made homes for rodents and could help keep the hugelkultur bed from drying out during its first year or 2.

After building over 300 feet of hugelkultur beds this strategy has worked well for me. But it does make the build take a lot longer. But since hugelkultur beds are a gift for my future self I think the upfront work is well worth it.

One thing I also recommend that is different than what I see a lot of people doing is to not use small pieces of wood such as branches. I have used these before, but I find that they tend to get in the way when I go to plant later.

If you are just using seeds this is not a problem, but if you are transplanting then the small branches can be annoying.

Though you could just add an extra amount of soil on top, but I find it is easier to stop with the medium sized pieces of wood and just add a good amount of soil on that.

I like to just chop up the small branches and use them as part of my mulch layer. They work great to keep fall leaves from blowing away.

Get Started with Hugelkultur Beds



So are you going to build your own hugelkultur bed? Have you built one already? I would love to hear your thoughts on building hugelkultur beds.

Is there a step I left out that you think is important? Please share it in the comments.

Also don’t forget to head over the blog post. If you are the first to leave a comment over there then I got a slice of pie waiting for you! Just make sure to also leave a comment in this thread so I can give you the pie slice.

Thank you!

Other posts in the series:

1. Hugelkultur Beds: The Best Raised Beds for Your Garden
2. 5 Hugelkultur Variations and What You Need to Know
3. How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed - current post
 
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I have one hugel bed above our pond which we will turn into a duck reserve. At the moment the banks are covered, one side with wildflowers for bees and habitat to our growing collection of dragonflies, the other with yet more comfrey and the top with grass and a ring of willow starters for hiding places for ducks as we have an awesome bird of prey population here. My other sunscoop has hit a bit of a wall at tbe moment but the willow wands we stuck in for stabilising have all taken so I  may have to take action to curtail their spreading. Thanks for the interesting post!
 
Daron Williams
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I have one hugel bed above our pond which we will turn into a duck reserve. At the moment the banks are covered, one side with wildflowers for bees and habitat to our growing collection of dragonflies, the other with yet more comfrey and the top with grass and a ring of willow starters for hiding places for ducks as we have an awesome bird of prey population here. My other sunscoop has hit a bit of a wall at tbe moment but the willow wands we stuck in for stabilising have all taken so I  may have to take action to curtail their spreading. Thanks for the interesting post!



Nice! That sounds great! Any chance I could talk you into posting some pictures? I would love to see how it is all setup
 
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Have you built a hugelkultur bed? Leave a reply with any thoughts you have about how it went and what you would recommend to someone just starting out.


Thanks to your encouragement Daron, I have built my first hugel bed and am slowly adding mostly edible native plants to it that I'm finding in the woods plus a few orchard trees: plum and apple.
I ran out of topsoil so some of the logs (95% of which are large cottonwood) are still exposed. Its an experimental project that's still in the making only to get better though.

I agree with all your suggestions for building one although I did use smaller branches (2-4 inches thick) and some chunky cottonwood bark to shove in between those large logs.
Its amazing how much topsoil you need to cover all those logs! If your starting one out as well, I would suggest remembering to end the log pile shorter than what your final height will be and completely cover everything up with your soil. It really reduces the planting area when logs are exposed or so close to the surface that roots will dry out much quicker.

hugel-bed.JPG
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Just watched the micro-documentary that came with the new kickstarter. Great little piece of information on this topic.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Daron Williams wrote:

Nice! That sounds great! Any chance I could talk you into posting some pictures? I would love to see how it is all setup



https://photos.app.goo.gl/YLw2VdiQYL2up7wRA

Will add some more later
 
Daron Williams
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Gerry – Yeah, it does take a lot of soil. I think that is one of the biggest advantage of the underground hugel beds. My kitchen garden was built that way and did not require any extra soil.

I think your beds look great. You could use fall leaves to help cover it all up and build soil. I like that you are using native plants 😊

Jeff – Agreed! If any one is curious here is a link to the doc: https://permies.com/wiki/37907f14/Hugelkultur-Micro-Documentary-HD-streaming

Mandy – Looks great! Thanks for sharing! 😊
 
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Seems like the first step is to have land that is appropriate and wood available. If you are not in that category and are looking for land I am about to add this one to my land available link in my signature line.
15-acrs.JPG
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L shaped parcel logged year ago. level to slight east slope sandy soil
Hugel-wood.JPG
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Several large pile of limbs and discarded wood.
secret-enternce.JPG
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Privet entrance in corner of L shape back from highway
 
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