January 11, 2018
Hugelkultur Test Results

Finally… the Hugelkultur test results!

Last year in May we created a new raised garden bed using the hugelkultur method. I called it a modified hugelkultur and you can read about it here.

During the summer I compared it to my regular raised garden bed and here are the results.

In the hugelkultur bed, I had planted lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard, spaghetti squash and radishes.

The same items were planted in the regular garden beds and everything went in as seedling except for the radishes which were sown directly into the soil.

Everything was sown at the same time and got the same amount of water.

As I watched the plants growing there was a noticeable difference.

I only took a few pictures during the growing season and I will post those at the end just to give you an idea of why the results were so different.

Hugelkultur Lettuce:

  • fuller and leafier
  • larger heads
  • plants were bigger (almost twice the size)
  • darker green
  • no slug problems

Hugelkultur Tomatoes:

  • tomatoes were bigger than the ones in the garden
  • tomatoes were bigger than the ones in the greenhouse
  • many clusters of tomatoes all large
  • really healthy plants
  • plants had thick stems so they stood erect very well and held their shape
  • no slug problems

Hugelkultur Swiss Chard:

  • a really noticeable difference in height
  • much larger leaves
  • no slugs

I still have some plants in the garden in January in both the Hugelkultur bed and just the regular raised garden bed.

In the regular bed, the leaves are about 6-8 inches high.

In the Hugelkultur bed when I went to pick some last night, the leaves were taller than my knee so about 20 inches high. Amazing difference.

Below is a picture that I took in late July. The Hugelkultur one is the largest on the right and has some insect damage but it’s much bigger than the one from the regular garden.

swiss chard using hugelkultur

Hugelkultur Spaghetti Squash:

  • the plant was more compact (wasn’t as sprawled out as the ones in the regular beds)
  • larger squash
  • ripened sooner

Hugelkultur Radishes:

  • more greenery
  • larger radishes

The main thing that I noticed overall was that all the plants seemed healthier than the ones in the regular beds and in pulling up the lettuce I saw why.

lettuce tap root longer

lettuce tap root

The one with the tap root is from the Hugelkultur bed. The roots went way down into the soil to the wet wood below the dirt.

As you can see from the pictures, the tap root is even broken off so it was actually longer.

When I was pulling up the plants this fall and putting the hugelkultur bed to sleep for the winter all the roots had a tap root on them.

In the regular raised beds I could just pull out the plants with no problem as most of the roots were on the surface where the water was.

In the hugelkultur raised bed I had to strain to pull out the plants and in some cases use a shovel and I still broke off the roots.

The roots had grown down to the moist wet wood below and kept the plants watered all summer long

The regular garden beds relied on the water that was provided to them by hose and rain.

Now I’m wanting to dig up all my raised beds and put in logs but due to the fact I have 14 beds I might only get one done a year.

In the meantime, I’ll be storing up on punky and rotting wood. It’s good to recycle.

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