Building a Huegelculture Bed

When we started growing strawberries, we had a great crop in the first couple of years. The next 2 years were marginal and we struggled to keep the weeds down, no matter how much mulch we used. This is how it looked like at the end.

The Strawberry Patch before the makeover. Pretty depressing, eh? Even Sam the cat is not impressed!

 I must admit that we simply left it because we know that we will give it a makeover, but it did look bad for quite some time.
After learning from microbiologist Dr Elaine Ingham that they need a fungal dominance of 5:1 (fungal : bacterial biomass) we decided to build a huegelculture bed to give them optimal growing conditions. Burying tons of wood makes utter sense to grow those fungi, create acidic soil and feed our strawberry crop. Same applies to grapes and blueberries for example. Learn more about pH in a biological system here!

We started early April 2019 to weed the old strawberry patch and take the strawberry plants out. The weeds (except the twitch) were thermal composted a few weeks later and the strawberry plants and runners were put in tubs with lots of soil to overwinter.

Weeding, clearing and excavating is all done by hand.

We spent two weekends doing most of the digging work and used the long Easter weekend to fill the trench with the large logs and build up the mound using smaller logs and twigs. We gave it two months to settle and planted the strawberries early August.

Filling the trench with big logs first.
Then thinner branches.
KoruKai Team stomping down the twigs.

We have put together a wee slideshow to show our process of building it. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful to build your own.

Happy gardening!

Follow this link to find out more about huegelculture, also called Hügelkultur:

Our efforts were rewarded with a great crop of strawberries in summer 2019/20.

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