New Jersey, May 2019
Please accept our appreciation of what you and your organization do. Liz has been very helpful to us. We are a small sustainable farm in Central NJ. We would like to improve soil on our farm for growing good quality food. Hugelkultur practice will certainly help us in doing so. We believe, as we grow food, sustainably, our patrons will be able to observe our practice and may be able to adopt it as well. NJ State Ag board doesn’t recognize Hugelkultur as Ag practice. We are a preserved farmland (deed restricted), so we can’t practice such without it being approved. As part of the approval process, we need to provide evidence of its viability and effectiveness.
Our farm is known as “umrit” (nectar in Sanskrit).
California, May 2019
Students dug our hugelkultur in a large crescent moon shape where the inside of the moon is facing West towards the ocean. This is to capture as much moisture as possible from the marine layer which rolls in the early morning. We filled the bottom of the hugel with large logs donated by a local tree trimmer. You can see one of our volunteers standing in the pit pointing to the logs in the photo. On top of the logs we placed sticks, mulch and finally soil. We watered in the hugel heavily to start the decomposition process and prevent any air pockets.
The plants currently on top of the hugel are several CA natives, sunflowers and other plants for supporting the local bee and butterfly population. We are not currently growing food on top of the hugelkultur. Our hugel was installed mainly as a water harvesting and drought tolerant gardening technique as we get very long periods of dry heat in Southern California. We use the hugel as a teaching method to demonstrate drought tolerant gardening in the LA area. The hugel has no irrigation and only requires the very occasional water in the very hottest summer months. The hugel has become a host to many native ground dwelling bees, ground squirrels, monarch caterpillars and other butterflies. Plants recently installed on the hugel (about 1 month ago) are flourishing, many of them in full bloom.