hugelkultur!!

this year on our farm we used a technique new to us called hugelkultur.  it has become one of my favorite of the permaculture practices that we’ve integrated.  the term is german for “mound culture.”  basically we made mounds of brush (mostly dead sunflower stalks, tree branches left from pruning, and woody materials too thick for the compost pile), then added some green material, then straw, then a layer of compost, then a layer of topsoil.  let it sit for a few weeks then planted in it.  the results have been amazing!  everything that grew in the hugelkulturs this year were our most successful plants, and produced leaps and bounds over the others that we planted in the ground, and even in the raised beds.  the theory is that because the hugelkultur piles are continuing to breakdown as the plants are growing, it holds more moisture, heat, and nutrients, and then provides more to the plants ongoing, and with a lot less work i might add.  it’s been a great solution to our continual issue of working very compacted clay soil.  rather than forcing the soil to change rapidly, we’re building the soil from the top, therefore less tilling, digging, and amending. 

check it out…

created this mound in late jan./early feb…

same mound in late april from opposite side…

this is around june

august in full glory (from original view)…

august in full glory (opposite view)…

and this is our three sisters mound (corn, beans, squash)…

march

early june

late june

mid-august in full glory

6hugelkultur, permaculture, farm life, speakeasy, pumpkins, corn, beans, cucumber, peppers, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, 3 sisters, building soil, squash, gardening, harvest,