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From raised beds to a Hugelkultur raised garden beds

 
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Posts: 3666
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Last spring after hearing so much good things about the advantages of the hugelkultur raised garden beds both in Paul's podcasts, his huglekultur videos(the proof one and the contruction one) and in his hugelkultur article, I decided to convert one of my "conventional" raised garden beds into a hugelkultur one.

I got my hands on some old molded logs and on some freshly cut branches from a neighbours backyard. Then I dug a trench in my rocky/sandy suburban garden, layed the logs and branches in the hole and covered them with the soil I dug out. I finished this hugelkultur raised garden bed with a layer of fresh compost and some wood shavings from a woodworking project. The new garden bed was not as tall as I wanted it to be: only about 2 feet tall. Unfortunately, I had a limited amount of wood. The wood shavings were not a good idea as they were in the way when I seeded the bed.

About a week after I built this hugelkultur bed, I planted a mix of white clover, flax, radishes and some fava beans. Since my compost was not fully decomposed, I also ended up with many other volunteer plants from last year's garden: leaf lettuce, squashes (they grow everywhere around my property) and even tomatoes. Later on, I transplanted some wheat. I was experimenting with the Grow biointensive method and I have to say that transplanting wheat, or any plants, is way too much work for my liking. I guess I am lazy.

I am not sure if that has to do with the hugelkultur or the dense polyculture, but the radishes I planted at the same time in a regular garden bed in a sort of companion planting ended up almost all being eaten by slugs whereas the ones in the hugelkultur bed were virtually pest free.

Last summer was really dry and I had to water the other garden beds periodically, which incidentally meant that I watered the hugelkultur bed too, so I could not fully test its drought resistance. However, it was noticeable that the plants on the hugel bed were not as stressed by the lack of water as were the ones in the other beds. I even had some mushrooms grow in the middle of the summer on the hugelkultur mound.

I am definitely planning on building more hugelkultur beds next summer. They help us build forgiveness in the landscape and truly are the ultimate raised garden beds.

I attached some pictures.
Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-construction.png
[Thumbnail for Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-construction.png]
Raised garden beds conversion
Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-finished.png
[Thumbnail for Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-finished.png]
Hugelkultur completed
Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-early-growth.png
[Thumbnail for Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-early-growth.png]
Raised garden bed few weeks later
Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-polyculture.png
[Thumbnail for Hugelkulture-Raised-garden-beds-polyculture.png]
Raised garden bed later in the summer with the wheat
 
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