My Mini Hugelkultur Bed

A couple weeks back I featured a post on mound gardening which included a couple of videos on Hugelkultur beds. This kind of gardening bed makes use of rotting wood and compost.

My friend Gerald helped me build my own mini Hugelkultur bed the other day. We started with pieces of oak wood cut using the backpack saw he purchased from Emergency Essentials.

Then I added peat moss, a partial bag of potting soil, and vermiculite. Next came a top layer of wood mulch.

The bed is roughly three by two feet and is only a few inches deep. It’s just deep enough for planting half a dozen potatoes. When the spuds start coming up, I’ll add compost to hill them up.

It’s the fastest garden bed I’ve ever put together. And it can be done anywhere. You don’t even have to dig up the ground to get one going.

I’m eager to see how well it does. Reportedly, Hugelkultur beds do better the second year. But I figured I couldn’t lose by starting out this year with potatoes. Later I interplanted Hurricane bush green beans.

Why not try your own Hugelkultur bed this season?


Hugelkultur bed wood base


Hugelkulture bed with soil elements added


Hugelkulture bed topped with mulch


Here’s what the bed looked like a few days later as beans started to sprout.

Hugelkulture bed a few days later


Here’s what the Hugulkultur bed looked like on Jul 1st with green beans.

Hugelkulture bed on July 1


Fall 2011 Update

Unfortunately, none of the potatoes I planted came up. They came from the supermarket because it was too late to buy any locally or from seed companies. These were probably treated withsome kind of chemical to prevent sprouting.

The beans did surprisingly well, except during the long, hot, dry spel during the summer, which lasted weeks. Nonetheless, I was pleased with how well this bed did, considering this was its first season.

The pictures show what the bed looked like the last week of September.


Hugelkulture bed on Sept. 25


Another view of Hugelkulture bed on Sept. 25


Cold weather with below average temps threatened soon afterward. Since I didn’t think the bean plants had much left to give, I pulled them up the first weekend of October.

I harvested quite a nice mess of bean pods at varying stages of maturity. I set them aside to dry thoroughly.

Next I covered the bed with used potting soil from a large unoccupied pot. Then I poured a bag of Cypress mulch over the bed and evened it out. It now looks like it did when it was first created in the spring.

I’m eager to see what it will produce next season.


How about a little survival gardening fun with Hugelkultur?


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.