Ancient German Gardening Trick Saves Water!
Hugelkultur (pronounced “hoogul-culture”) is a way of using woody material such as tree logs, branches, brush, or even wood chips as compost. There are several ways to do it, but the classic technique is to bury a fallen log in a mixture of soil and other compostables such as leaf litter, clippings, scraps…etc. As the wood decomposes it provides food for good soil microbes and fungus which, by their presence, replenish soil nutrients and improve soil structure. The result is a nice patch of fertile ground, great for growing edible or ornamental plants.
Hugelkultur is recommended as a way to generally improve soil wherever soil needs a boost. But one of the best advantages (especially for Texas) is that rotting wood is naturally absorbent. A buried log will soak up water quickly and release it slowly over time, which is great for providing sustained hydration to plants when rainfall is infrequent. Using this method may help reduce the watering requirements for your garden!
For more information see Paul Wheaton’s published article “raised garden beds: hugelkultur instead of irrigation.”
(image: Super Giant Design)