Hugelkultur for the home garden

You may have heard of the permaculture practice called hugelkultur. The internet is filled with lots of great resources explaining the practice, but the jist is this: a hugelkulture is a raised bed that will help build your soil, create more surface area for you to grow things, and utilize a whole bunch of logs that your husband found on the side of the road and couldn’t resist bringing home.

We have a tricky space where the bottom of a steep hill meets our deck. The area is inside the fenced in part of our yard where our chickens roam (and destroy almost everything green). They haven’t seemed to bother cacti, yuccas or agave plants. And they don’t seem to bother mature rose bushes and tall grasses.

So, I decided to haul most of the logs my husband found (that were too big for the fireplace or fit pit without a bunch of chainsaw work) to this space and create a hugelkultur for the purpose of starting a succulent and drought tolerant plant bed. See the steps below for how I put it together.

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Step 1: Place your bottom level logs. I had lots of non-glossy booklets from work. So, I filled in cracks with those. Small sticks would work better, perhaps, but I didn’t have any readily available. 
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Step 2: I added some cardboard and placed the top logs in my pyramid.
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Step 3: I added some weeds I’d pulled the day before and back filled with dirt I had displaced earlier.
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Step 4: Topped it off with a bag of leaves and left the tidying for the chickens, who will scratch around and further break the leaves down. Chickens will also poop all over it, preparing the soil for planting our succulent and cactus garden soon. And let’s not forget that this space will house lots of bugs (read: free chicken food). 

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