In my first urban homestead in Portland, there was a large cedar tree in the front yard. As I looked out my living room window, the first thing I always saw was hard packed, barren dirt under this tree. I tried to plant groundcovers, shade tolerant veggies, ANYTHING! But nothing would grow. Finally, I stumbled upon a gardening technique that was ideal for the dry wasteland out my window, hugelkultur!
What is Hugelkultur, anyway?
Hugelkultur, (HOO-gul-culture) is raised beds made large logs and branches at the bottom. The large amount of carbon in the rotting woods stores TONS of water! Hugelkultur beds are ideal for gardening in very dry areas with minimal irrigation. I’m planning to add some to our new Texas homestead. The beds are also a great way to compost large bulky branches you may have on hand. Rotting wood that might not make great firewood is just PERFECT for a hugelkultur bed.