How to Make a Hügelkultur Raised Gardening Bed

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Learn how to make a raised garden bed that will improve soil fertility, water retention, and seasonal extension!  Hügelkultur is a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later (or immediately) planted as a raised bed. Learn simple techniques that will produce incredible results!

This article is written for anyone…especially beginners and those that don’t have a green thumb.  We’re going to learn how to deliver results in the garden for the long run – by planning in the beginning.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

Gardening can be intimidating…especially if you’ve tried and failed in the past.  I’ve been there and it sucks.  That’s why I’m writing this – so you can learn from my experience and failures.

Before we look at the various options for raised gardening beds – we’re going to read about raised beds.  Then, we will learn why you want to consider incorporating Hügelkultur principles into your raised beds. 

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised bed gardening allows us to control the health of the soil where we are growing our plants.  In addition to improved soil quality in our beds, it is generally easier to maintain plants in a raised bed.

Raised Bed Garden Options

When it comes to the style of raised bed you want to build, you have a lot of options.

Start small and keep it simple.  You can build something yourself or you can purchase a prefabricated bed.  There are metal options and there are wood options…the opportunities are endless. 

Remember to ask yourself – what’s appropriate for the current context of my life?

What materials are available to us? What are we working with?

Corrugated Metal Raised Bed

Personally, when I built my own raised bed – I utilized leftover metal from a pole barn that we constructed a few years ago.  I used the video How to Build a Raised Bed in 1 HOUR for UNDER $100 and built one to the dimensions as specified, which is: 12ft long x 4ft wide x 2ft tall – perfect for Hügelkultur.

Hügelkultur

Hügelkultur is a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later (or immediately) planted as a raised bed.

Hügelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood.

https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

One of the best sources where you can read about hügelkultur in depth is an article titled: hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden bedsThere, you will be able to read additional detail and history of the word and its various applications and the different styles of hugel beds that one can create.

In the raised bed that I built, I took a bunch of old logs from fallen trees in the woods along with wood chips that I’d previously had dumped from local tree crews.  I layered the two along with some leaf duff from the woods as well until the raised bed was about 2/3 full.  Incorporating leaf duff from the surrounding woods helps incorporate healthy mycorrhizae and fungal activity into your raised bed.

When you get to the top of your raised bed, you’ll want to consider topping off the raised bed with a more traditional potting soil or container mix, which will provide an optimal planting surface for the current season.  Plants, mulch, and water is about all you need for a productive raised bed this year!

Over time, as the wood breaks down inside the raised bed, your hügelkultur bed will create an environment that naturally improves soil fertility, water retention, and slight seasonal extensions by creating some additional heat from the breakdown of the wood within the raised bed itself.

It’s another simple technique that people tend to make complicated.

Give it a try and experience the results for yourself!

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