Hügelkultur is a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later planted as a raised bed. Wikipedia

My kids and I Moved from Southern California to the high desert in Central Oregon Mid-March in 2020 right as the pandemic shut everything down. We immediately got busy trying to transform a big dirt yard into to some type of garden.

The space we would transform.

I have been using the Mel Bartholomew Square Foot gardening method for 30 years plus as I was researching gardening in this very different climate to Southern California, I came upon an article about Hügelkultur gardening, and I found it very intriguing.

The yard before we added the gardens.

We had all the materials right here on the ranch apart from good soil, such a bonus.

Loading up the truck with wood, pine needles and pinecones from the property.

So, my son and I went out to the pastures and started collecting logs, pine needles and pinecones and we also picked up old hay. Building the raised beds was a bit labor intensive but the result was cool.

All the supplies had been gathered.

We started by breaking down the moving boxes and covering the area with cardboard then we built the beds right on top of it.

We had lots of cardboard from the move.

Then we started layering the logs, pinecones, pine needles, hay and last the organic soil that was purchased.

Cardboard then the logs were added to the beds.

For the area around the beds, we had gravel brought in.

Gravel down, beds layered up, added a little yard art, now just need to add the soil.

What I love about the beds is they are pretty to look at, they are raised they do retain water and the decomposition in the lower layers should help to feed the plants every year. Also, the decomposing materials creates heat which could extend our growing season.

Our first year the garden was amazing. We had very little pest issues the biggest being my dog eating broccoli. The birds did enjoy some of the greens as well. But I don’t mind sharing a bit.

The beds early on.
Bentley The broccoli thief.

This year has been another story. We have adorable little chipmunk families that have pretty much destroyed everything. And maybe a Vole or two. I feel like we have created a Habitrail with a rooftop garden for all these cute critters.

My little buddy enjoying the garden. FYI that sign did not phase him.

I’m currently trying humane ways to un invite them to the garden, so far with zero success. So next year it may be all flowers.

They got my pretty Coneflower.
And they seem to be enjoying the Zucchini.

Despite that I still love the way the beds transformed the less than interesting yard into a sweet spot to hang out.

This years garden just getting started.

Hope you enjoyed this gardening story,


Winter gardening is very different here.


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