MAKING OF A HÜGEL CULTURE
DIG A HOLE, ADD ALL PLANT MATERIAL YOU HAVE, AND PUT THE DIRT BACK ON TOP OF IT
What this blog post will give you
Here I will show and describe how I made a Hügel culture. It might not follow the exact right approach but it will give you an idea and maybe some inspiration and ideas on how to do your Hügel culture. My aim was to test it but mostly create a soil or plot with new and lasting nutrients.
What is a Hügel culture
There are many ways to describe what a Hügel culture but it is basically a pile of soil with some kind of biomass under it. The word "Hügel" originally comes from the German word for "hill" since it normally looks like a small hill. It is an old cultivation method form the north and east of Europe.
The concept is very simple. The biomass and plant material you put in the bottom under the soil gives the culture the following Hügel culture benefits:
1. Leaching of nutrition during a long period as the plant material decomposes - many years
2. Branches and larger plant parts forms compartments which holds water for the roots
3. With enough nitrogen in the plant material, the cellulose will start to self burn and make the soil warmer the first months
4. The culture is raised which makes it warmer and the plants grows faster
5. In a convenient way you can get rid of branches and grass clippings you otherwise have had to move or burn
6. As the plant material decomposes it will slowly release CO2 up through the soild that plants then can absorb and thus grow faster
7. The carbon in the in the biomass gets trapped under ground and is not released to the atmosphere as if you had burned it.
8. The microbial life in the soil will increase
9. Free organic nutrients and no need to add more for many years
If you wish to read more about Hügel culture then wikipedia has some more background material on the topic:
My Hügel culture
Two large thees - goat willow / pussy willow / great sallow tree (we say "Sälg") and parts of a spruce - was cut down. A lot of branches was left over to put somewhere. Why not use the nutrition in them and make a Hügel culture.