Hugelkultur anyone?

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)February 19, 2012

Hello everyone: I have just come across some articles on hugelkultur and figured it would fit my backyard perfectly. The fact is we had a HUGE tree cut down a few years back and my husband decided to keep all of it. He had some project in mind, which never materialized. The end result is that the site of my best full sun garden has been filled with these logs for the past several years, leading to great frustration for me (no space for my veggies)so when I came upon this hugelkultur, I though it would be fine, but I am beginning to have some questions. The presence of the logs in the yard means that I am crawling with slugs all summer. I have to grow almost everything in pots and go out each night on slug patrol. I have been told that the logs make a perfect habitat for the slugs and that as long as I have the wood I will have slugs. Will it make a difference that the logs are covered with other organic matter, etc.? I have visions of planting my hugelkultur with beans and coming out to find them chomped to the ground. So are my concerns valid? Is there any reaction that goes on in the hugelkultur that will make it hostile for the slugs? The wood is now past the fireplace stage and it really is useless and unsightly. It will be very costly to have it hauled away since some of the logs are not split and measure up to 18 inches in diameter. Most of the sites I have seen on the internet are in very dry looking areas, and we have quite good rainfall here in Ontario. So is there anyone in this part of the country who has tried hugelkultur? What has your experience been? Your help is appreciated. Thank you.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

From your situation I think that using the logs for hugelkultur would be PERFECT for you!

Hugelkultur should make the logs "hostile" to slugs because you will be burying the logs. Slugs travel along the ground, not under it, so burying the logs will make them quite inhospitable. It might take a little while for all the slugs to die off, but getting the logs out of their reach will help immensely.

Several of the regulars on the soils forum are familiar with or have tried hugelkultur. I do it, too, but I'm down here in the middle U.S.

I'll see if I can direct them over here to your hugelkultur question. :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlen(s/e qld aust)


hugelkultur - hill culture is another adaptation for raised bed sheet mulch gardening, it is a process we have sued for many years before we heard of hugelkultur, see our bale garden presentation.

it fits very well in sustainable permaculture type gardening as it allows for the disposal of larger plant material without the need to dispose of it in other ways or chip/shred it.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens straw bale garden

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thank you Ralleia for your prompt and very encouraging reply. I somehow thought that slugs were able to negotiate earth: just hide out over winter and then emerge when it warmed up. We were fortunate last summer because we had a very dry summer which following a winter with very low snowfall, so we had hardly any slugs until late in the summer when we started to have rains and then they come out by the hundreds. It was terrible having to deal with them each night. Now I know I can undertake this project, I think I will have to put some of my gardening on hold this year, so I can get these logs underground and have some proper beds for next year's growing season. I'll have a look at the soils forum.

Len, I enjoyed your straw bale garden video. Very interesting reading. I am in a suburban sub division, so I don't have enough room to try it. A few years ago I did something similar with an area next to a cedar hedge. Laid down cardboard, saved kitchen scraps, chipped leaves and newspaper and it is now planted with a variety of shade loving ornamentals. It was another big job. Thank you both.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think hugelkultur would work very well for your situation. I tried it for the first time last year and it was very successful. I'm in Nova Scotia and we had an extremely wet spring and summer. I was doing morning and evening slug patrols usually collecting several hundred slugs at a time. The one place that didn't seem to have a slug problem was the hugelkultur bed. It was definitely not in a dry area. Mind you, it wasn't planted until early June and I planted squash there, which may be less attractive to slugs than the beans and cole crops which they attack mercilessly. I'm planning to plant either broccoli or beans in that bed this summer, so I guess I'll find out how those crops fare with respect to slug damage. I was so pleased with the hugelkultur that I created 3 more beds in the fall and have been collecting wood to make a couple more once the snow melts. If you'd like to see a description and some photos of my last summer's hulgelkultur effort they are in a follow-up to a hugelkultur post on the organic gardening forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hugelkultur

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks janetcw.

Just finished putting in 2 small hugelkultur beds, motivated by your pictures.

Have heavy clay soil, that I don't want to double dig for years, hopefully this will be a one time effort and just no-till for future years.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

hey emgardener, almost a year now. Any updates?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 3:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Just little update. Thanks to Janet and others on this forum, I made two hugelkultur beds last spring. They were against my back fence and we had a low snowfall, and then the summer turned out to be a drought, so the large amounts of water were not present last spring. We have now had more snow to date than the entire month last year, so I will see how these beds deal with the excess moisture. Last summer I was able to grow runner beans, some Chinese long beans, cauliflower, butternut squash, and a few ornamentals (Four o'clocks, great blue lobelia). They did OK, but as I said, there was a drought and I did not water them, so production was not great. I will not be able to do very much gardening this summer due to health reasons, but I am sure I can handle some pole beans and perhaps some melons. Looking forward to see how others fared. I will keep you updated.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

thx northerner_on for the update. Did the plants on Hugel-mount grow better than the ones that weren't?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 3:19PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Wild Grapes with Black Rot
So, on the margin of my back yard I have some wild,...
internship, volunteers wanted Coastal Ecuador
Organic farm and permaculture teaching center that...
Raised bed HugelKulture?
Hi all! I'm still reading, so this might have been...
Looking for advice when it comes to pursuing permaculture
Hi my name is Andrew. I graduated a few years ago with...
Permaculture in structural pest control
Hi! I'm Sean. I operate Ecological Pest Management...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™