Tag Archives: hugels

Life cycle

We’ve been needing to deal with the original hugel, planted to kale, for a few weeks now, as all the plants have gone to seed, and we have kale and other greens to eat elsewhere, anyway.  Today I stopped by a local nursery and snapped up the remnants of their veggie start section for 50% off — the plants aren’t all super happy right now, but I think most of them will recover with some space and sun.  So, it was finally time to address ALL THAT KALE!


First, let’s take a moment to remember how far the hugel has come…  From the day we created it way back in early February, to the day the seedlings came up… to three straight months of glorious kale harvests… to the insane yellow bee haven it has become.


Kale at 2 months, 4 months, and 5 months

We began with the full hugel – instead of pulling out the plants by the roots, which might damage the hugel, we left the roots and the first inch of the stems, and used clippers to clip the rest of the plant (sometimes 4-5′ of kale!) away from the hugel.


Talina starting to demolish the huge



We hauled 5 wheelbarrows worth of kale to the compost pile!

The wheelbarrows filled up so fast!! We brought one barrow full over to the goats in the Neutral Zone… they loved it.


Goats chowing down on recycled kale plants


Some of those kale plants had gotten HUGE: check out this one that’s a good 2″ in diameter. We had to use the tree pruning clippers on these ones.


And now.. an empty hugel… the kale in the new hugel on the left is just starting to show, and tomorrow I’ll plant the squash and tomato plants I picked up, and a new cycle will begin (hopefully one that will result in acorn squash, pumpkins, and delicious tomatos).



This weekend we hauled a lot of compost! In addition to working on the garden area, once we ran out of cardboard, we got started on the next project: a hugelkultur bed.

Hugelkultur is a tall bed, made by laying rotting logs and other organic material on the ground, then stacking more leaves and sticks and branches high, with a final layer of dirt or compost. This method increases the warmth in the soil, and reduces the need to water during the summer. It also has the handy by-product of requiring a lot of waste organic materials, like sticks and leaves and rotting logs, that we find ourselves rich with this winter.

First layer: rotting logs dragged up from the Neutral Zone timber lot.

Second layer: smaller fir sticks and branches, fresh this year, from our windfall after the storm.

Next, clippings from the fruit trees.

Last layers: leaves, and mushroom compost.

Mostly finished! Just a few more layers of compost to cover everything, and our new kale-producing-machine will be ready!