My name is Gina Whitfield, I am the garden manager for the Albright Community Garden 2016! I’m approaching my junior year at Albright College, majoring in environmental science. My interests in entomology and botany have encouraged me to intern for the garden this year.
During this year’s annual spring Permablitz, the kickoff to the garden itself, the community came together to help construct a hugelkultur hill (what we now simply call “the mound”).
Hugelkultur is German for hill culture, this technique being used in Eastern Europe for hundreds of years. Consisting of a base layer of logs and twigs, followed by a layer of leaf matter, and finally topped off with compost, the hugel mound ensures constant moisture and nutrients for plants to grow. The rich organic matter within a hugelkultur is continuous, as it takes over fifteen years to break down! The gradual matter breakdown inside the mound means the soil will aerate (long-term no till) and the resulting heat extends a plant’s growing season. Since our hugel mound is still young, we make sure to water it every other day. However, once the mound has resided for a year, the logs within will act as a sponge for plants’ roots to tap into and the mound will only need to be watered if there is a drought.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a low-maintenance, high-quality garden with too many benefits!
I’ve added two pictures below, before and after, of the mound.
Having previously experienced tomato blight in a typical plot, the garden team thought it would be interesting to see how well tomatoes freely grow atop the hugel mound; I will be sure to publish the end result!
Let us know what you think and/or if you have any questions about Hugelkultur and stay tuned for the weekly garden blog!
Recipe for the Week: Steamed Radishes
– Chop radishes
– Steam radishes until easily pierced with a fork
(Optional: add your choice of seasonings/herbs with a light touch of butter)
[Steaming radishes will lift their bitter taste allowing them to be an excellent side for any meal!]