Permaculture – Hugelkulture

If we talking about permaculture we have to talk also about hugelkulture, from german hügelkultur translates as “hill culture”.

The hugelkulture is the practice of composting large woody material to create a raised garden bed. In this case we can use the excess amounts of woody garden wastes, for example pruning, brushwood or hedge clippings. The pioneer of this technique is Sepp Holzer that in is house in Austria starting to adopted it, though he didn’t use the word hugelkultur.

The technique involves digging a circular trench about 1′ (30 cm) deep and 5′ (1.5 m) wide, in the centre of which is dug another hole 1′ (30 cm) deep hole. The material is piled in. Turf (grass) is than stacked face down on top, then layers of compost, well-rotted leaves and manure, etc as available. The layers break down slowly and creating rich humus over four or five years. It is claimed that this is ideal for growing hungry crops such as zucchini (courgettes) or strawberries.

This technique is mainly used in soils where water is scarce and there is no trace of worms, which means no fertility of the soil.

As the years pass, the deep soil of the raised bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets – so your hugelkultur becomes self tilling. The first few years, the composting process will slightly warm the soil giving a slightly longer growing season, in temperate and cold climates.

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Permaculture collection – 1º How to handle the soil

Europeans methods of processing  removes everything that is not productive and therefore leave the ground exposed to the sun’s rays that deplete quickly. The richness of the land is in the measure of microbes that live in it, more microbes there are more land is rich in all the elements that allow plants to develop, grow and die, by providing, even at the moment of death, the nutrients they contain to make sure that the soil alive.

“Lo que enriquece la tierra es la vida bacteriana y ponerle fertilizante es pan de hoy y hambre de mañana; en cambio ponerle mucho microbio es pan de hoy y abundancia futura.”  (pag 15 “Colección permacultura – 1 Como tratar la tierra” )

To know what kind of land we have, and we are not experts, we can take a bottle, dilute one part to show the ground up to make it chocolate drink, at this point we’ll put in a clear bottle and leave for a few days to rest .
Spent the time, we can see clearly what consists our land.
After that, we would have all the information of our land and we’ll add corrective substances on earth: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, silicon.
The natural fertilizers, which contain all the nutrients listed above, are:

Compost – organic remains
Ash – coal or wood (does not contain nitrogen)
Urine – must be fresh and diluted with water (has a lot of nitrogen)

Finally, when your plants are attacked by diseases, parasites, fungi or lose their efficiency we need find the cause in the ground.
The first thing to do is make sure the soil is aerated, containing moisture, organic matter and darkness.
If the problem persists after yours corrections, we should also check the following factors: PH, see if he recovers with or without water, and make sure that the leaves bring the symptoms of the disease and see through the boards what substance could be used.

For more and more information about the book you can see

Colección Permacultura 01 Cómo tratar la tierra

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