2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2, Page #32[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Hugelkultur: The Ultimate Raised Garden BedsFor several years, Iíve tried to grow strawberries in my garden but they always performed poorly or died. I read books, watched videos, tested the soil, tried different varieties, and tried all the tricks successful strawberry growers told me about, but nothing worked. Then I found out about Hugelkultur.
Hugelkultur is making raised garden beds filled with rotting wood. Itís been used in Europe for many years and is now catching on quickly here in the U.S. The man most responsible for its popularity is Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer. Holzer made quite a name for himself by taking land in what is called the ďSiberiaĒ of Europe and turning it into one of the most productive farms in his country. Hugelkultur is a big part of his success.
In a nutshell, you take a pile of logs, stumps, and brush and cover it with dirt. This gives you raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, and air pockets for the roots of whatever you plant. As the years pass, the soil becomes incredibly rich. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets so your hugelkultur becomes sort of self-tilling.
The first few years the composting process warms the soil, giving you a slightly longer growing season. I was impressed with what others had told me about their successes so I made a small test hill and planted 30 strawberry plants. To my surprise, the plants not only lived but also thrived! I am now in the process of building 2 more 40 by 15-ft. hugelkultur mounds in my yard to use as my main garden.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brad Miller, P.O. Box 222, Ridgeville Corners, Ohio 43555 (ph 419 267-5679).
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