Hügelkultr & the Katrina’s Kitchen Garden ‘Hugel bed’ method

I am obsessed with reading gardening tips, and always looking for new ways of doing things. Joy, oh joy, when there’s a new book on gardening at the library!

Hügelkultr is my absolute favourite technique of the year, closely followed by in-ground worm farming.

What is Hügelkultr? It’s a method of building a raised garden bed with old logs in the centre – the more the better. On top of this stack of old wood goes woodchip, ‘almost-done’ compost, then finished compost. I usually add a bit of garden mix on the top layer, just as I’m planting seedlings or seeds.


Image from an article on Permaculture.co.uk

Over time the whole thing compacts down, the wood eventually decomposes, and you get magical soft soil, and a not-so-high raised bed. Best thing of all is that any grass underneath is smothered. Totally and utterly. This is way better than cardboard & mulch, trust me.

Some pictures of my current hugel beds:


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The benefits of this method are that the wood in the centre gets quite spongy as it breaks down, and therefore has excellent water retention. This means less puddles after storms, and better resilience in droughts.

Here in Titirangi we get a LOT of rain, and I am loving the vitality in our established hügelbeds. For homeowners, this method could save you having to get those branches of wood cut into chips, and there’s no need to take old branches to the dump with the green waste.

Needless to say, we are always on the lookout for suitable wood, so if you can help out, please let us know.

And if you want to build one of these in your own garden, but want a hand with it? Again, just get in touch with us.

Happy Gardening,