How to build hugelkultur beds and why you need them in South Africa!


What are the advantages of using hugelkultur over other gardening or permaculture techniques?

1. Cheap and easy

If you have access to the raw materials, hugelkultur is cheap. It can be a lot of initial work to build a hugel, but it’s not technically difficult and requires very little skill to build. In comparison to a wicking bed system, maintenance is optional and there’s not much that can go wrong with a hugelkultur bed.

2. Water efficient

Under normal conditions, I estimate that you can save around 60% of your water using hugel beds.

Instead of watering every day for five minutes and create lazy plants not searching for water you can deep water a hugel for ten minutes once per week, even at the height of summer and make use of their sponge effect.

I’ve pushed it to watering once a fortnight in mid-summer, but this is not ideal for plant vigour.

3. Increased surface area

Depending on the type of hugel you build, you can increase the amount of growing space by half or more.

A traditional 90cm tall hugel can provide nearly double the surface area of a conventional bed.

A typical 60cm tall sunken hugel increases the surface area by half.

4. No till, no weeding

Hugels require overall less maintenance. They don’t require tilling, and this can reduce the amount of weeding to be done.

5. Beneficial environment

Hugels provide lots of beneficial conditions for a range of insects and micro-organisms.

Fungus and mycelium thrive in hugels as the wood in the hugel rots.

Worms love hugels, and because they provide a range of rotting materials, varied food sources, air pockets, wetter areas, and drier areas, you provide habitats for beneficial microorganisms.

6. natural appearance

They look pretty natural and fit well in a wild natural forest garden

7. Microclimate

You can fine tune your climate zone on a single hugelbed. Like on a globe there are sunny and less sunny sides. You can play with their height and orientation to increase yields.

8. Soil builder

It’s a soil builder! Selfmade good soil out of a natural lasagne can be used on other hugelbeds.

9. Hide food waste 😀

simply add your kitchen waste when building hugelbeds

10. Space for offcuts

You need to trim or prune your trees! Use it for hugelbeds 

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