Here is an overview of our new garden that followed the idea of a hugelkultur.
A true hugelkulture (“hill culture” in German) is tree logs covered with a layer of dirt on which other trees and perennials are planted. The logs act like a sponge retaining moisture (like a rotted log in the woods with plants growing out of it.) So a garden needs fewer waterings and gets the benefit of the rotting logs feeding their roots. The gardens typically do better in their second year on, due to a high depletion of nitrogen when the wood first begins to rot.
We used some of these ideas but didn’t strictly follow it. First, I wanted a vegetable garden, not a perennial bed and second, I wanted it raised up for ease on my back. So we have a raised garden, using also the idea of sheet mulching combined with the theory of hugelkulture. And here is what we ended up with.
Then somehow I misplaced the pictures of the next two layers. After the chicken coop layer above, we added pure compost that was well aged. We thought that would be our final layer but it was too chunky to plant in directly. So we purchased a load of top soil. It turned out to be pretty heavy clay, but it was smooth enough to put seeds into. And that was the end. Next came the plants:
The only issues so far was my cat (or some animal) eating about 9 tomato plants that then had to be replaced and extra fencing put around them till they got taller. Apparently he didn’t read the book that explains that tomatoes are related to Deadly Night Shade and the leaves are toxic.
We also have worms eating the cabbage as previously documented. One other thing I noticed were the cukes on the far side were showing yellow in their leaves. I think this could be a sign of low nitrogen, so I added some in the form of fish tank water and they greened back up. Otherwise it is pretty lush. Unfortunately our purchased top soil was just loaded with grass seeds so I am getting tons of grass in there. I did pretty intense planting so hadn’t planned to mulch but it may be necessary.
Update: 8weeks (July 10)
At 9 weeks: