Mimic Nature’s Perfection with Hügelkultur

This woodland area has fallen conifers that have been nourishing the soil for decades. We are filling in the eroded spots with dead trees we are cutting down, and then we’ll build low mounds with smaller branches, shrubbery and wood chips, topped with composted manure and topsoil.

What aspect of nature could I improve upon when nature already functions perfectly?”
JosefSepp” Holzer,Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture,” 2011

Jerry and I are using a permaculture method called hügelkultur (“hill gardening”) that will enable us to mimic the natural processes we’ve observed in our forest by creating piles of wood and other compostable materials and planting right on top of them. I’m excited about hügelkultur because it will enable us to make good use of the wood we’re clearing, rather than burning it or hauling it away.

Hugelkultur is one of the most efficient ways to incorporate organic matter into the soil over a long period of time. The biomass sequesters carbon, thus preventing its release into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Plants can use the stored carbon more effectively to produce healthy food and beautiful flowers.

            As the logs and branches in hügel beds break down, they create fluffy, humus-rich soil, eliminating the need to till. The wood also acts like a sponge, absorbing water during wet winter months and providing a steady supply of water to plants during dry summers. Little supplemental irrigation is needed.

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