Building a Hugelkultur Garden: Mound One

Sticking to what I know, I set out to build the Hugelkultur way. Handed down from my German great grandparents to my father, and from him to me, this was always the way of gardening for us growing up. In uncertain times such as these, I opted for a tried and true technique I could trust.
After setting the perimeter and digging up the soil with a shovel, I did my best to chop up the large chunks of thick soil, to allow deep root growth.
While laying down the bush twigs, I interlaced leaves with it.
A good first layer of twigs from a large bush does the trick to provide all the drainage I needed for this particular mound. Later, I would add larger branches.
Newspaper and lots of water help set this mound together.
After a couple days laying covered, cooking in the sun, and going through a few rounds of water, I laid down a thick layer of grass clippings.
After that, I mixed compost, soil, and top soil and set the rows. This bed is for the sweet peas, tomatoes, and radish. I’m also growing garlic in it, too, which have been going very well.

Most people will find that this approach to gardening requires a significant amount of work up front. It’s true. You will certainly invest far more effort up front executing this technique over simply tilling your soil. However, the benefits far outweigh any aches and pains at the start. You will end up with a garden that is far healthier, far more integrated, and far more draught resistant. It encourages deep root systems, while also requiring less water, as it is great with moisture retention.

Growing up, this was just how we did it. Year after year, I got a great workout building the garden for the season, and throughout the summer, yielding far more vegetables than our 5 member family could consume. We kept the tradition alive by sharing our surplus bounty with friends and family, offering baskets of cucumber, onion, watermelon, green beans, and corn. It has been fun building my own Hugelkultur, and it’s exciting to see such great early results.

I have also tilled and plowed, but this approach has always proven itself. Each to his/her own. Start a garden. Grow your own food. Grow freedom and stability. Grow certainty!

Viel Glück!

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