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.
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.
We had all the materials right here on the ranch apart from good soil, such a bonus.
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.
We started by breaking down the moving boxes and covering the area with cardboard then we built the beds right on top of it.
Then we started layering the logs, pinecones, pine needles, hay and last the organic soil that was purchased.
For the area around the beds, we had gravel brought in.
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.
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.
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.
Despite that I still love the way the beds transformed the less than interesting yard into a sweet spot to hang out.
Hope you enjoyed this gardening story,