FAQ: How soon can I plant?

You’ve built your hugel bed. How long do you have to wait before you can plant?


That depends on what you used to build your hugel with.

If you use:

  • dead and composted material, then go ahead and plant the next day.
  • mostly dead material, and some green waste (grass clippings, straw, etc), put a generous layer of high-nitrogen fertiliser (blood and bone, or chicken manure) as the last layer before your growing medium, and that should prevent nitrogen depletion in your plants. You can plant the next day.
  • a lot of green material in the upper layers, the hugel may produce a lot of heat which will damage plant roots. You will have to wait before you plant. How long that is, will depend on how much heat the pile is producing. If you season the hugel with high-nitrogen fertilisers, and keep it wet, you can test it after about two weeks. If the top 30cm is 24°C (75°F) or less, then it should be fine to plant. If it’s hotter, keep testing every week until it reaches an acceptable temperature.

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