Hugelkultur is raised garden beds that reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation and fertilizer.
This video shows the why and how of this type of raised garden bed. Hugelkultur can be built by hand or with machinery; urban lots or large acreage farms;
The focal point of this video is a project in Dayton, Montana where Sepp Holzer installed nearly a kilometer of hugelkultur beds in early May of 2012. Then the video shows the results in mid September.
Michael Billington is currently the land manager there. He explains how the beds have not been irrigated and goes into some detail of the qualities of the food from the different aspects of the hugelkultur: the north side tends to be sweeter and the south side tends to have more bite (lettuces tend to be more bitter and mustards tend to be hotter).
Special appearances by Christy Nieto from Bellingham, Washington (see her smaller berm / raised garden bed in the background – she reduced, but did not eliminate irrigation); Melanie and Brad Knight from Sage Mountain Homestead in Corvallis, Montana (building hugelkultur with a bobcat); Sepp Holzer adding branch mulch plus throwing seed; Jessica “Jessi” Peterson showing the mulching technique.
The recipie is: wood and brush covered with soil; immediately plant seeds; a bit of mulch helps.
Because the sides of the raised garden beds are usually steep, adding mulch is done by pinning the mulch to the sides with branches shaped like pegs (referred to as nails in the video) that hold on branches that hold on the mulch.
Once the hugelkultur beds get to be about three years old, the plant growth will be about five times greater. This is just the first year and the wood has not yet rotted much.
Hugelkultur also extends the growing season. Areas that have 90 frost free days can now have 150 frost free days!
Notice how ALL of these feature polyculture. Polyculture is one of many ingredients which help to reduce the need for irrigation.
The end of the video features the attendees of the 14 day intensive permaculture design course offered in Dayton, Montana in April of 2012.