GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

Hugel-what?

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A Hugelkultur of course! I first learned of this method during the Permaculture Design Course that I participated in earlier in 2013.  It was 72+ hours of sustainable, food, garden, method, awesomeness. A Hugelkultur is like the ultimate symbol of the essences of “permaculture” which is notoriously hard to define. It’s cheap, easier than digging beds, uses materials that are readily available on-site, it promotes bio-diversity and has a tendency to look a wee bit messy. All things I love 🙂

This method of growing is great for places that you don’t want to water as much or like we did, have annoying stumps that would be labor intensive to remove.  Check out other images here: http://rescape.co.nz/methods/hugelkultur/

The house we moved into about 6 months ago now (my reason for a long blogging hiatus!) had these seriously annoying areca palm stumps in the front yard. Someone got the brilliant idea to chainsaw these guys, but not all the way down and didn’t remove them. Areca palms do not really grow back- they might get a few leaves again, but they will never be full like they were before after a massacre like this! And they were dangerous- sharp spiky bits sticking out everywhere with little kids running around wasn’t very safe.

Stumps!

Stumps!

So we set to chopping them down a bit farther, piling the large pieces up and then added grass clippings, mulch, some compost starter, kitchen scraps and scraped a layer out of the chicken pen and added that too.

The "mound" with added clippings and compost.

The “mound” with added clippings and compost.

We ended up with a nice little mound and transplanted many of the plants we had brought with us from our other house. I wanted a lot of bio-diversity, so there’s herbs, flowers, some aloe and few native species like Popolo berry.

Transplants and lined the mound with color pots.

Transplants and lined the mound with color pots.

Here it is, only 5 months later! This thing is so happy. All the plants thrive, it takes hardly any watering at all and with the exception of a few mealybugs, there are no pests in this bed. The bees love it! Butterflies have started hanging around as well.  Our Hugelkultur is a success and if you find yourself plagued by stumps- do the easy, lazy gardeners permaculture way and build one of these!

About half of the plants here are edibles!

About half of the plants here are edibles!

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Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

5 thoughts on “Hugel-what?

  1. Beautiful! I don’t have any stumps, but maybe I should . . .

  2. Now I’m annoyed that the guy who cut the weeds behind our building insisted on hauling the pile of tree pruning remains to the dump. It wasn’t bothering me, but he said he couldn’t possibly work around it. I knew there was a use for that stuff, just didn’t know what it was . . . next time I see him I’ll tell him about hugelkultur!

  3. When I think of all the hauling away of yard “waste” that I’ve done in my life it makes me so sad too! None of it is waste! It just needs to get turned into something else! 🙂

  4. we just learned and put ope in this fall to be ready for spring, so excited! Your is fabulous 🙂

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