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Hugelkultur: agricultural technique with low irrigation and high organic matter

Hugelkultur: agricultural technique with low irrigation and high organic matter

Hugelkultur is an ancient German agricultural technique used mainly in places where the soil has various limitations. Ideal for those lands that give nothing: compacted soils, poorly drained areas, limited humidity.

The German word means "Hill culture". The technique is simple and inexpensive or free, the proposal is to grow healthy foods even with a shortage of water for irrigation. In Hugelkultur, a lot of water accumulates thanks to the retention of organic matter.

The idea is to make a type of raised bed, where the center is filled with organic matter and the remains of logs so that there is water retention and proliferation of life and, therefore, a long-term natural fertilizer in the soil.

The advantages of the Hugelkultur

  • Works on all types of floors.
  • Grow a bed with almost no watering.
  • Expand the arable area by the same square meter that rises
  • It can start as a small flower bed and gradually increase.
  • Rotten wood, branches and logs are used that are no longer useful for building or burning.
  • The buried material is subject to the action of microorganisms, with decomposition, which makes the soil rich and usable for traditional beds when the raised bed is dismantled.

How to prepare a Hugelkultur

1. Once the site is established, dig the soil approximately 70 cm deep to stabilize the pile. Trunks and branches are placed, in the shape of a pyramid and spread out on the bare earth, forming a pile.

2. First, lay out the larger log scraps. Then a layer of branches and sticks and then fallen leaves. Avoid the use of cedars, walnut trees, eucalyptus or other species of trees considered allelopathic (trees that produce chemicals, secondary metabolites, that influence the biological system for better or for worse).

3. Water liberally.

4. Fill the spaces between the logs with manure and organic material (kitchen and garden trash).

5. Cover the pile with a “bed” of sawdust and straw.

6. Sow the seeds in the “bed” or transplant like any other garden bed.


What can be planted in a Hugelkultur

We can grow different vegetables, herbaceous perennials or annual ornamentals. Plant them in the form of terraces in different lines.

Video: How Swales Work, Permaculture at MADE Farms (October 2020).