I was listening to an episode of The Survival Podcast (great gardening info in there), and heard Hugelkultur explained for the first time. Essentially it's adding a buried layer of wood to decompose over time (years to decades depending on the size of the logs). As the wood decomposes, the soil above moves and shifts subtly providing aeration without human power. Once the wood has rotted well, it becomes an underground "pond" soaking up any rainfall like a sponge, and forcing your plants to develop deep roots to tap into it, resulting in stronger plants and drought resistant garden.
Well, in my neighborhood, I couldn't have mounds of dirt so I modified things a bit.
1. Dig down 18-24" or more (enough to bury your logs). I opted to go with branches and twigs instead for a faster start.
|"Raised Bed" Step 1|
|"Raised Bed" Step 2|
4. I opted to save the sod and return it on top of the wood pile, grass side down. I was a little worried about grass growing in my bed, but after a full year, there's been no grass (and very few weeds for that matter).
I thought the grass and especially the roots would break down and improve the soil
|"Raised Bed" Step 4|
I didn't have extra dollars, and the rocks were from elsewhere on my property where I no longer wanted them. Win/Win.
|"Raised Bed" Step 5|
|Spring 2012 Garden|
Jalapeno and Pablano Peppers 2nd
Tomato and Bell Peppers 3rd
More Tomatoes and Lettuce 4th
Trellised Zuchinni and Summer Squash in the back
Suffice it to say, I'm a big supporter of Raised and Woody-core Bed!