Friday, 24 July 2020

What is a hugel mound?

Hugel Mounds

What is a hugel mound?

Hugel mounds, also known as Hugelkultur (pronounced Hoo-gul-culture: hill culture or hill mound), are raised beds that are not dug. It is an old European system of composting woody material by covering them with plant material and soil. The term Hugelkultur was first published in 1962 in a German gardening booklet by Herrman Andrä, who was influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic agriculture. Along with Hans Beba, the practice was revised and re-published in the 1970s and 1980s, when it gained popularity. 

What are the benefits?

Hugel mounds hold moisture (branches act like a sponge), build fertility/ increase nutrients, and maximize surface volume (since you are building steeply upwards). As the wood decays, the plants receive nutrients in a more long-term way. Soil aeration also increases as the branches/ logs decompose, and humus (composed organic matter) is created.  

How to build a hugel mound:

How you build depends on the land, climate, your goals, and materials that you have. It’s good to use older wood rather than newer. Hardwoods break down slowly which means that your hugel mound will last longer and be more effective, but you can use softwoods as well. If you want it to last longer, it’s better to put softwoods and branches on top to provide nutrients earlier and faster, and put hardwood on the bottom for stability. You can also put softer wood and branches deeper in which will give you less stability but more humus deeper down. To maintain your hugel mound, you can add on smaller branches and line the perimeter each year. 

Youtube video: How to build a Hugelkultur bed :


What to plant in a hugelmound: 

The short answer is that it’s best to plant perennials and crops that are harvested above the soil. It’s good to avoid root vegetables (especially when the logs/ branches are still fairly in tact) since they will be difficult to harvest.

References/ for more information: 






7. Youtube: How to build a Hugelkultur bed - Jesse O’Leary 

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