5 Types of Hugelkultur Beds - Which is Right for You?

in permaculture •  last month 

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Have you tried looking up examples of hugelkultur beds to help you build your own and only got more confused? There are so many different types online... how do you know which to build?

This week's blog post is all about helping you understand the different types of hugelkultur beds so you can pick the one that is right for your project.

This post is the second in a 3 part series all about hugelkultur beds. This second post is all about the different types of hugelkultur beds and the pros and cons of each. The first post was an introduction to hugelkultur beds and the 3rd will focus on how to build them.

If you are unfamiliar with hugelkultur beds make sure you check out the first post in the series.

Ready to get started? Awesome! Let's dive into all the types of hugelkultur beds!

For this week's post I organized all these various hugelkultur beds into 5 hugelkultur variations. For each variation I give a quick description and then cover the pros and cons. Each variation has its place and can work great but no one variation is right in all situations. This week's blog post will help you figure out which type is right for you and your project.

Here are the 5 hugelkultur variations covered in this post:

  1. Slash Pile Covered with Soil
  2. Buried Beds (Fully or Partially)
  3. Small-to-Medium Beds Above Ground
  4. Large Beds Above Ground
  5. Formal Raised Beds

I have built 4 out of these 5 types of hugelkultur beds on my homestead resulting in over 300 feet of hugelkultur beds. I took the time to figure out which type was best for the specific project and moved forward from there.

What about you? What type of hugelkultur beds have you built?

The Slash Pile Hugelkultur Variation

This type of hugelkultur bed is one of the easiest to build but also the easiest to get frustrated with. It really is just wood covered with soil and can even just be wood and leaves. Basically, just make a slash pile, add some soil/manure on top and call it good.

I used to be fairly skeptical of this variation and I still think people build this one by mistake and then have problems growing in it. I think some of the criticism of hugelkultur beds come from this situation.

But as Edible Acres explains in the video, this method can be a great way if you are not in a rush. If you are willing to wait several years before trying to plant and then plant pioneering species and only plant vegetables 6 or so years in then this method works great.

Seeing what they are doing with their land made me re-think this method. But before you dive into this method make sure you are okay with waiting potentially years to plant. But if you are then this method could be a great and easy option.

Here are the pros and cons of this method taken from the blog post.

  • Pros: Simple to build; Does not need large pieces of wood; Great way to use up yard waste; Can build a large amount of soil.
  • Cons: Prone to drying out in the short run; Rodent issues; Large amount of settling over time; Takes a very long time to become productive; Needs soil from a different location in order to cover it.

What do you think? Have you built this type of hugelkultur bed?

Pick the Right Type of Hugelkultur Bed for You

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My newest hugelkultur beds--much more formal than my others but that is best for this specific project. This is my in-progress kitchen garden and gathering area. I will share more about that project tomorrow as part of my weekend report.

Make sure to visit the blog post to get more information on the other 4 hugelkultur variations not covered in this post.

I think too often hugelkultur beds are discussed in one size fits all terms.

My view is that just like we use variations for many other things on our homesteads it is important to tailor your hugelkultur beds to your specific situation. Don't try to recreate what someone else has made on their homestead if their situation is dramatically different than yours.

If you are new to hugelkultur beds then make sure you check out part 1 of this series to get a full introduction into hugelkultur beds. This week's blog post will make a lot more sense if you are already familiar with the basics of hugelkultur beds.

I would love to hear what you think! Have you built a hugelkultur bed? If so what type did you build?

Thank you!


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I have about a quarter of an acre of hard, rocky ground that I would like to turn into a garden over the next couple of years, but I've been having a difficult time figuring out just how to do that. This really got my gears turning! I didn't realize the difference between different types of hugel beds, and the part about creating different microclimates really has me thinking. Now, I'm going to have to spend some time studying the wind patterns a little better around my place.

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Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you found the post interesting and helpful! Good luck with your project! :)

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You've been visited by @riverflows from Homesteaders Co-op.

A pity @nateonsteemit ain't steemin' this week - he'd have a lot to say about hugelkulture as he's been doing it himself from memory. I've made wicking beds, a similiar premise I think? A great post - i like the way you included a video and links to other posts too.


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