Hugel Kultur

What Is Hugel Kultur

It literally means hill culture….a hill or mound created from rotting logs, leaves, sticks, compost, aged manure to act as a garden bed.
We moved here Oct 2013. Other than some mature trees in front of the barn, it was a sea of grass. I noticed how pristine it looked. I also noticed how silent it was, no sound of butterflies, bees, or wasps. The house sparrows dominated the skies along with some chickadees and crows. It felt sterile and abandoned.
When I dug down, the topsoil was barely there and underneath the thin layer was sand. This is great for pounding posts in but growing stuff? Not so much.
So we dug down and laid old fallen logs, branches, leaves and rotting material, manure and compost. Big stuff on the bottom to act as a sponge and lighter stuff above to create air pockets and room for worms to wiggle.
Over the last 10 years we’ve added to the mounds as they compost and sink.
I find it very satisfying ditching the gloves and digging in the soil. I could put my hand in and bring up worms wiggling in dark rich soil. The veggies grew huge…and yes the weeds thrived but unless they were inhibiting sun from getting to my veggies and overtaking the garden, I would rather let the soil stay intact and cool. Otherwise, I’d be ripping up the soil and leaving it bare to dry out and kill all that life and mycorrhizal fungal netting.
I would recommend this easy project to any gardener whether you want to grow a little flower garden or a massive pumpkin patch. Better yet, do both! Throw in flowers with veggies and herbs, make sure to mulch and watch your topsoil grow!

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