With any land purchase there will be large amounts of land clearing needed for a home site, driveway, and for a garden. The Austrians developed a self-fertilized garden method that requires minimum irrigation called a Hugelkulture. This structure is used in permaculture and will be used extensively in our gardens for soil-building and to use the waste (this is pure gold in my opinion) from the clearing of land.
First step is to dig a long hole where you want the Hugelkulture. This is where the longer and larger logs will be placed. As you build up the smaller logs and limbs will be layered on top to create a mound. The height is not very important but the higher you go, the more planting area you create.
The logs and tree limbs are the carbon element since this is simply a compost pile. The soil from the depression that is dug out will be used later to cover the Hugelkulture. The logs and the depression will help hold water for the plants that will be planted on and around the Hugelkulture. Once the logs have be placed at the desired height, add pruned greens and organic waste (compost) on top of the woody layer. This is the nitrogen layer.
You can then add the local soil to cover the wood and green layer completely. Plants with less water needs can then be planted near the top and plants with more water needs should be planted low on the structure. Over time, the woody layer and green layers will breakdown from the organisms in the soil to create a rich soil.
Here are some books about Hugelkulture and Permaculture that we found helpful from Amazon.com. Please help us keep this blog going by purchasing these books. We get a small commission when you click on these links and buy from Amazon.com. 🙂
This is one of our favorite books on Permaculture. The information in this book is very detailed and provided us with a better understanding of many of the permaculture concepts that were not explained enough in the free material found on the internet.