Hugelkultur is a German word that means “mound culture,” and this is a way of cultivating crops on mounds of earth, wood and natural nutrients that has several benefits over planting in conventional flat rows:
- With the vertical rise of the mound and the high amount of fertile nutrients built into it, you can grow more food in a smaller area.
- The wooden logs and branches, along with large leafy material like comfrey, built into the hugelkultur mound absorb and hold water, thus requiring less watering by the gardener or farmer. I have heard several users of this method say they only have to water their hugelkultur beds about twice during the entire growing season.
- This is another great example of why we do not need to use toxic chemicals or ANY commercial fertilizers to grow the healthiest crops possible. The hugelkultur beds can contain a large quantity of all varieties of natural plant fertilizer/nutrients, arranged to decompose at different rates and provide very fertile soil for several years, without having to add anything but a little bit of water. The nutrients in the hugelkultur mound in this film include: bison and cow manure, a little bear poop, compost, comfrey, other plant materials, topsoil, and small rocks.
- The taller the mound, the less bending over or kneeling the farmer or gardener needs to do, which of course greatly reduces back, knee and joint pains.
- This method is less labor-intensive than conventional flat-ground row gardening, since it requires less watering and is easier to access for weeding, harvesting and general management.
- The benefits and pleasure gained from this method of cultivating crops serves to provide greater encouragement and higher motivation to grow our own healthy food and live healthier lives.