Garden Do’s and Don’ts


Now presenting…

The HügelKultur Arches in full glory!

The HügelKultur Horseshoe

Our 2015 gardening plan included a lot of experimenting. Some places are definitely more experimental than others! It’s great because it’s adding to our first-hand knowledge and experience bank. Everything we need to know about doing our best next year can be found right here, right now, this year.

The greenhouse where lots of our veggies got their starts in life.

The greenhouse where lots of our veggies got their start in life.

Experiments that are working really well, for example, include the HügelKultur archways to support cucumbers, squash and ornamental gourds.

HügulKultur “is a composting process employing raised planting beds constructed on top of decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds.” -wikipedia

Ours is affectionately called The Horseshoe because of it’s shape. Here are some pics of it’s development. On the rounded end of the Horseshoe we have planted squash and a variety of berry bushes.

What didn’t work so well was not staking the tomatoes. I think the idea was that the steep slope of the horseshoe would give the tomatoes some ‘lift’ and encourage them to make good use of their real estate. For the longest time the tomato transplants didn’t grow much and then all of a sudden in the middle of a million other projects they took off like crazy. Now they look like this! We are thinning and staking them up as best we can. Next year we know better!

Another experiment we have is awesome in one place and a ‘learning experience’ in another, it’s the straw  and hay bales. Here you can see we planted peppers and tomatoes into the small square bales and they are struggling.

And here, we used a chainsaw to carve out a deep dish into the top of old round bales, filled the dish with compost and direct sowed melon seeds into it. Not only does the whole thing look cool, but the melons are looking great!

Melon seeds planted on into the compost filled top of old, round hay bales are looking good!

Melon seeds planted on into the compost filled top of old, round hay bales are looking good!

How beautiful it all looks from a distance!

How beautiful it all looks from a distance!

We now know that the we were too hasty to plant into the square bales, they should have been aged first and even inoculated to boost their fertility as a good home for plants. We think this is why the large bales are working great. The large bales have been sitting on the property for a while and the square bales were purchased new.

HügelKultur in full glory.

HügelKultur in full glory.

And some of the wonderful food we have enjoyed, the profits of our labor!


  • Hello Lisa,
    The sequence of pictures and stories is great! Particularly after visiting and seeing everything growing in early July. I look forward to sharing this link/blog with students and some friends in Detroit and Flint. Thanks for sharing! John.

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