Here’s the third update from our Compost Collective facilitator Jennifer, who is sharing how she’s creating a hugelkultur bed at her property.

Step 3 – Preparing the ground
Once you’ve confirmed there are enough logs to fill the bottom of the bed (and there’s an opportunity here to make your bed bigger or smaller depending on the quantity of woody material available), it’s time for the hardest part of making the hugelkultur bed. That’s turfing, which is removing the grassy sod and putting it aside for later use, and digging out the topsoil, which is also put aside for later use.

Recognising the subsoil
Stop digging when you are down to the subsoil.  For me, I could see the difference in colour when I reached the yellow clay underneath the rich brown topsoil. Watch this short video to see the difference in soil types. There are many different types of subsoil including silt, sand, and gravel.  You can usually see and feel a difference when you reach the subsoil.

The first part of Jennifer’s video here, about trenching, will show you how to turf and start digging the base of your hugelkultur bed.

Essential and useful tools 
Essential tools needed: spade or shovel to turf and remove topsoil
Useful but not essential: 2 tarpaulins (or large pieces of cardboard or similar) to store turfs and topsoil on until later.

After this it’s easy!  It will be like a downhill bike ride but the hugelkultur bed will be going up: getting higher and higher as the wood is added!

What’s next?
In the next blog, I’ll be showing how to fill the bottom layer with logs. If you missed the earlier blogs, here’s where to find them:
1 Getting started
2 Collecting logs


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