A raised structure with tree branches for Hügelkultur

Hügelkultur: Why This Gardening Method is Taking Root

Have you ever heard of hügelkultur? Though it may sound like something out of a history book, hügelkultur is actually a type of gardening that is becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re a fan of organic gardening methods, then hügelkultur may be just what you’re looking for. Read on to learn more about this fascinating gardening technique.

What is Hügelkultur?

Hügelkultur (pronounced “hoog-el-kerl-toor”) is a German word that means “hill culture.” It is a type of gardening that involves creating raised beds by mound gardening. The beds are made by mounding up soil and organic matter, such as dead leaves and twigs, and then planting crops in them.

This method was traditionally used in Germany and other parts of Central Europe.

Hügelkultur has many benefits. For one, it helps to improve drainage in the soil. The raised beds also make it easier for plants to access the water and nutrients they need to grow.

Additionally, the mounds help to protect plants from pests and diseases. And, because the beds are made from organic matter, they help to improve the overall fertility of the soil.

If you live in an area with a cold climate, hügelkultur can also help to extend the growing season by trapping heat in the soil. The raised beds can also protect plants from frost damage.

Are There Any drawbacks?

While hügelkultur has many benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to try this gardening method.

First, because hügelkultur involves mounding up soil and organic matter, it can be quite labor-intensive. You will need to have patience and be willing to put in the work if you want to try this method.

Additionally, because the beds are made from organic matter, they will eventually decompose and need to be replanted.

How Do I Create a Hügelkultur Bed?

If you’re interested in trying hügelkultur, there are a few things you’ll need to do first. First, you’ll need to choose a spot for your bed. It’s important to choose an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day. Once you’ve chosen a spot, mark off the area where your bed will go using string or stakes.

A square dug out in a yard for preparing Hügelkultur gardening.
First step of hügelkultur gardening involves digging a hole

Next, you’ll need to gather materials for your bed. If you have access to compost or manure, those would be ideal materials to use. Otherwise, dead leaves, twigs, and other organic matter will work just fine. Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to start mound gardening.

To create your bed, start by mounding up the soil and organic matter in the marked-off area until it is about two feet high (you can make it higher or lower depending on your needs).

Hügelkultur with added branches, compost, and biomass.
Add some branches, compost, and biomass

Once you’ve created your mound, start planting your crops in it. Water regularly and enjoy watching your plants thrive.

Green plant growing on hügelkultur garden bed.
Plant on hügelkultur garden bed