"Hugelkultur" Raised Beds
By Bonnie Pohly, Tree and Shrubs Lead at Round Rock Garden Center
Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means, garden prep galore! Recently, we had an ice storm that knocked quite a few branches down from all the surrounding trees. With excess limbs and small branches littering your yard, we all need something to do with them. A great use would be to start a raised garden bed!
To build a raised bed, you should start with a layer of cardboard to prevent weeds and grass from growing through. Next add a healthy layer of logs and branches to not only reduce the amount of soil needed, but to provide food for your soil biology. This layer will be the thickest layer taking up close to half of your raised bed.
You should fill the area around the wood with a layer of nitrogen-rich plant waste about 2-3 inches deep. Plant waste is comprised of green leaves, plant and grass clippings, food scraps, and coffee grinds. Make sure to cover the wood layer well to prevent loss of nitrogen.
Next is compost. The compost layer can be any organic compost but will benefit from having mycorrhizae fungi included. This layer will also take up about 2-3 inches.
The last step will be to add organic soil of your choosing. This layer should be 12-18 inches deep.
There you have it, a good start to some new raised beds along with using up the extra wood in your yard.