Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hugelkultur bed - part 2

I won't have to go into as much detail as I did for the first Hugelkultur bed, but I wanted to demonstrate a few new materials I introduced, which weren't in the first. I pretty much did everything the same, only we had to purchase some green shade cloth, as we didn't have any more leftovers. I also started the base layer, with old wood.

Spongy woody material

These logs also came from down in the gully, and were well and truly decayed. It didn't take much, to break pieces off, and find the soft, spongy material, left over from termite infestation.

This is the preferred wood for hugelkulture - logs which have spent some time in the elements, breaking down. Because it's pure feed for the plants which go into the bed, rather than drawing nutrients from the soil, in order to break down. It shouldn't matter if you use fresh logs, but it may take a year longer for the plants to benefit as much.

Fibrous bark

Instead of pumpkin vines, we added some passionfruit vines, to this bed, as we were removing it, at this point. Same soil and coffee grounds went into the base layers, but instead of large branches I used thick tree bark. It had been stripped from some saplings we took out and needed a use for.

I've read that eucalyptus isn't the best material to use for hugelkulture (which this bark is sourced from) as it takes ages to break down and can leave oils not favourable for plants. As long as it's had some time out in the elements (6 months to a year) and mixed with other materials though, it doesn't present much of a problem.

Prickly pear

Instead of Mother of millions succulent, we used prickly pear in the second bed. Again, using the reasoning of trapping moisture in the base layer, for plant roots to migrated down to. This was another resource our land grew, which can be considered a nuisance. But in removing it, and using it, the prickly pear becomes a valuable resource instead.

Twigs and coffee grounds

I still had plenty of twigs and smaller branches to use, from our endless resource of fallen trees. Acacias have a short lifespan around these parts, and so we have plenty of woody material to draw from.

Acacias are better wood to use in hugelkultur than eucalyptus, as they contain less oils and break down a lot quicker. But it's about using what your land produces, and just adding a range of materials from all that you have.

We filled the rest of this bed, with purchased compost, as there wasn't much soil left, to take from Middle Ridge chicken coop. It's cheaper to buy it by the trailer load (and more environmentally friendly) than it is, to buy in bags.

Last day of July

I didn't take any photos of the second, finished bed, by itself. But I did snap a picture of the two beds (avocado tree in the middle) as we were installing trellis posts. This is where the beds were at, on the last day of July, this year.

We had to place more wire mesh (concrete rebar) over the top, to stop brush turkeys having a field day. We didn't quite escape that fiasco, but I'll share more when I do the update, of where the beds are at presently.


  1. I had not thought about using wire mesh as a framework for hugelkultur beds, but I really like the idea. This past summer has been so dry (still is) that I'm ready to try something new too. this article at richsoil says that virtually no irrigation is needed with hugelkultur beds, so you may be onto something. I need to find some framework this winter and work on my own.

  2. We had the rebar, left over from pouring the slab for our house. The builders forgot to take it away, so we've been finding inventive ways to use it since. If you can find a free source of mesh, from old building sites, it saves them having to cart it away.

    I have an update on how my new beds have been travelling, I'll write up soon - and let you know how it's going. :)

  3. I really like how you are using the weedy succulents in these beds. What a good way to control the weeds.

    1. We thought it was the perfect solution and in all honestly, if they hadn't of been there, we wouldn't have thought of it ourselves. ;)


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