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Monday, February 25, 2013

What is Permaculture? What is a Hugelkulture Garden Bed?

What is Permaculture? What is a Hugelkultur Garden Bed?
(Following the Way Nature Forms Earth Mounds)

This is just an introductory entry on permaculture and Hugelkulture garden beds.

A fellow gardener, well small scale farmer, I met through one of my Google+ Gardening Communities has a  home farm. He is blogging and video taping the entire process of developing a home farm and covering almost every aspect you can think of when it comes to home farming. You can find his blog at Daddykirbs. He is currently shooting a series of videos on Hugelkultur Garden Beds. Below is a clip from his blog that explains Permaculture and Hugelkuture.

'Permaculture? What is it? Well I'm still learning to answer that question for myself, but basically it's designing our environment more like nature. When we mimic nature our gardens will thrive and be more self sustaining. We help the soil along by providing more materials like compost, clippings, mulch and in the case of Hugelkulture we bury wood.

It is my goal to use my farm in a more sustainable way. Or as a gardening buddy of mine on Google+, +Dan Grubbs,  says "regenerative". The idea of restoring our land to a more fertile and fruitful existence.'

Hugelkulture is a very interesting concept that has been practiced in Europe for centuries. It deserves a little more explanation. Following the principles of permaculture and mimicking nature, a Hugelkultur raised bed is really nothing more then burying rotting or fallen wood with leaves, mulch, compost and soil. Essentially whatever is available. You are making a planting mound with wood at the core. The key is the wood core. You are creating a layered mound that forms within Nature in your gardens.

This design creates a self sustaining mound. It naturally holds moisture. It decays over time and continually creates nutrients and the top planted plants, often fruit bushes and vine crops, thrive nicely. The natural decaying process continues over years as in Nature.

Not only do you get to use unwanted fallen trees and bury leaves and other materials... you get a great planting bed for blueberries, pumpkin vines and the like. You need less water, less fertilizers and less general maintenance. Did I mention it is great for soil aeration? The roots of your plants will enjoy the ability to grow down into spaces instead of fighting their way through hard compacted soil.

Here is Blake Kirby's full construction video for building a Hugelkultur Garden Bed.

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