What are the advantages of using hugelkultur over other gardening or permaculture techniques?
1. Cheap and easy
If you have access to the raw materials, hugelkultur is cheap. It can be a lot of initial work to build a hugel, but it’s not technically difficult and requires very little skill to build. In comparison to a wicking bed system, maintenance is optional and there’s not much that can go wrong with a hugelkultur bed.
2. Water efficient
Under normal conditions, I estimate that you can save around 40% of your water using hugel beds.
Instead of watering every day for five minutes, you can deep water a hugel for twenty minutes once per week, even at the height of summer.
I’ve pushed it to watering once a fortnight in mid-summer, but this is not ideal for plant vigour.
3. Increased surface area
Depending on the type of hugel you build, you can increase the amount of growing space by half or more.
A traditional 90cm tall hugel can provide nearly double the surface area of a conventional bed.
A typical 60cm tall sunken hugel increases the surface area by half.
4. No till, no weeding
Hugels require overall less maintenance. They don’t require tilling, and this can reduce the amount of weeding to be done.
5. Beneficial environment
Hugels provide lots of beneficial conditions for a range of insects and micro-organisms.
Fungus and mycelium thrive in hugels as the wood in the hugel rots.
Worms love hugels, and because they provide a range of rotting materials, varied food sources, air pockets, wetter areas, and drier areas, you provide habitats for beneficial microorganisms.