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Sustainable Gardening

Hugelkultur - hill culture

On Churt's sandy soil, nutrients and moisture can often be in short supply!

Hugelkultur are no-dig raised beds with a difference. They hold moisture, build fertility, maximise surface volume and are great spaces for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. Instead of putting branches, leaves and grass clippings in the garden waste collection a hugel bed. Simply mound logs, branches, leaves, grass clippings, straw, cardboard, petroleum-free newspaper, manure, compost or whatever other biomass you have available, top with soil and plant your veggies.

The advantages of a hugel bed are many:

  • The gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants. A large bed might give out a constant supply of nutrients for 20 years (or even longer if you use only hardwoods). The composting wood also generates heat which should extend the growing season.

  • Soil aeration increases as those branches and logs break down... meaning no digging -  long term.

  • The logs and branches act like a sponge. Rainwater is stored and then released during drier times.

  • And importantly for achieving the Net Zero Carbon target, wood is buried in the ground rather than being burnt, so hügelkultur locks carbon in the soil rather than sending it up into the atmosphere.

Keen Churt gardener and CHAPS member Maggy Sheil has already shared her hügelkultur  success story with other CHAPS members and these are a few photos of her hugelkutur bed in action.

Download  David Sheil's guide and find out how to make your own hugelkultur bed.

Contact David directly if you have further questions at: or at

Maggy Shiel's Hugelkultur bed
Maggy Shiel's Hugelkultur bed 2
Close up of Maggy Shiel's Hugelkulture
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