Cultivation methodes

Hugelkultur what the hell is that?

I’m still getting inspiration from Robert Hart’s book Forest Gardening. Reading is slow because there are so many tips in it that I have to investigate. Hugelkultur is one of them. I didn’t know it. But it is an age-old sustainable Eastern European horticultural technique.


The concept is simple. You bury your pile of wood under a layer of soil and other organic matter. Either you dig a well first or you don’t.
You always end up with a hill or mountain anyway.
These layers can hold soil and leaves, grass clippings, straw, newspapers, manure, compost or other biomass.

Then opinions are divided. Either you plant immediately or after a few months. Ideal if you want to hide that heap of wood under a layer of earth, I think.

The advantage would be that the mountain needs less water. That is of course included. Now the mountain does get smaller over time, of course.
It is a slightly different process than making compost, because here the map is fully drawn from fungi to break down the materials.

  • There are several methods. In the classical permaculture method, a deep well is first dug and filled with logs and then the various layers. That mountain can be 2 meters high.
  • A mini version of one meter high is also possible, but then there is a little less digging and smaller branches are used. Above that, slightly more compost elements are added.
  • A third method is simply above ground. Imagine finally being able to hide that dead pruning. Then you still have to search for earth, of course.
  • Or a fourth method,… use it as the bottom of your ‘raised bed’

Some important tips that Jan Grouwstra gave via Facebook.

The wood you put in such a bed must be in a state of decomposition. When the elements and all kinds of creatures make the wood almost fall apart; perfect! The idea is that the material you put in slowly decomposes and becomes part of the ground. This is very slow with wood. Even root balls of reed decay very slowly, which is not surprising when you consider that reed covering on houses lasts for something like 20 years. So that’s why I put more green material in my mound beds myself these days; that provides nourishment for a longer period of time. Otherwise you could still compensate with more manure, of course. It also depends on what kind of material you have at your disposal, in principle all organic material can be used.

Jan Grouwstra

These two videos are in English but the images speak for themselves. Let it inspire you.

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