Image credit: Paul Wheaton
Some time ago I posted on hugelkultur raised bed gardening—an initially labor intensive method of growing that involves burying massive amounts of woody biomass underneath your growing bed, providing a long-term release of nutrients and a greatly increased water-storage capacity as the materials slowly rot down. (Advocates say that big-enough hugelkultur beds should never need watering.) At the time I was a little taken aback by images of diggers and large trenches—not what you typically associate with low impact permaculture methods. But I've since heard from many hardcore advocates of hugelkultur, and I've just found a couple of great videos about what it looks like in practice. The first is a neat little time-lapse number from Midwest Permaculture in which they document a step-by-step process of building a small hugelkultur raised bed. No mechanical diggers in sight, although it sure did take a lot of human labor to build one bed!
Next up is a fun interview that Paul Wheaton—the same guy who brought us videos on moldy hay as lawn fertilizer, environmentalists' over-obsession with native species, and making seed balls for no-till farming—conducted with Mark Van Der Meer on his accidental hugelkultur raised bed, and the stunning results it has achieved.
And here's one more from Paul Wheaton in which he gives a little more information about both the theory and practice of hugelkultur cultivation:
I'd love to hear from any readers who have tried hugelkultur raised beds. Are they really worth the effort?
More on Permaculture and Home Vegetable Gardening
Hugelkultur Raised Bed Gardening
Lazivores Unite: A Manifesto for Lazy Gardening
Have You Tried Square Foot Gardening?
Try No Dig Gardening for Your Backyard Vegetables