Hugelkultur

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Hugelkultur is the permaculture technique of burying large volumes of wood (such as tree limbs, branches and trunks) under soil into a 2 to 6 foot tall "raised bed" to increase soil fertility and soil's retention of water.

The decomposing wood acts as a wick/sponge when underground thus during rainy season the buried wood absorbs enough water to support the crops planted on the raised "hugel bed" throughout the dry season.[1] Hugelculture is promoted by permaculturalists Paul Wheaton, Jack Spirko, Geoff Lawton, Masanobu Fucuoka, Sepp Holzer, and many others.[2][3]

Hugelkulture is part of earth works techniques that also include swales, and terraces used in agriculture throughout the world, especially in Asia, and particularly Vietnam and China. It can be part of a "food forest" and the practice of agroforestry.

Hugelkulture is often part of the permaculture integrated techniques of companion planting, polyculture (Large diversity of plant species in one garden or farm), plant guilds, support species, function stacking, intercropping, and microclimate development.

Benefits of Hugelkulture Raised Bed Gardening

The benefits of hugelkulture raised bed gardening include water catchment-retention and the warming of soil thus helping to create a microclimate.[4]

Because the decomposing wood that is buried acts like a wick-sponge as it decays, it is able to capture and store water for ongoing future use by the crops planted on top of the raised bed.[5][6]

Use of hugelculture "woody" raised bed gardening in permaculture results in long term productive ecosystems that require minimal maintenance and little to no inputs once well established. Such woody raised bed gardens can help create an abundance of food on arid, infertile, rocky or marginal land often considered not viable for agricultural use. (See the YouTube video "Greening of the Desert"[7])

External links

Bibliography

References

  1. Wheaton, Paul. "raised garden beds: hugelkultur instead of irrigation" Richsoil.com. Accessed December 5, 2014.
  2. Hemenway, Toby (2009). Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing. pp. 84-85. ISBN 978-1-60358-029-8.
  3. Feineigle, Mark. "Hugelkultur: Composting Whole Trees With Ease". Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Accessed December 5, 2014.
  4. http://permaculture.org.au/2012/01/04/hugelkultur-composting-whole-trees-with-ease/#more-6825, Hugelkultur: Composting Whole Trees With Ease Permaculture Research Institute - Permaculture Forums, Courses, Information & News, Accessed December 5, 2014
  5. Wheaton, Paul. "raised garden beds: hugelkultur instead of irrigation" Richsoil.com. Accessed December 5, 2014.
  6. Hemenway, Toby (2009). Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing. pp. 84-85. ISBN 978-1-60358-029-8.
  7. Greening the Desert by Geoff Lawton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reCemnJmkzI found on https://www.youtube.com/user/Permasolutions/videos Accessed December 5, 2014.