Soil enhancement for increasing conifer growth and overall diversity of under-story plants.
Hugelkultur, have you heard of it? It’s like active composting while growing plants. This approach is believed to have originated in Europe as a technique for growing plants in places with harsh climates and short growing seasons. Directly translating to “hill culture,” it’s not fully known whether the name came from the hill-like garden it creates, or because it originated in the hill-towns of Europe. But despite it’s origination, people are finding that Hugelkultur is a useful tool for supplying long-lasting nutrients to your plantings!
By burying woody debris and organic material, Hugelkultur creates a large reserve of carbon and nutrients for plants to feed off of. Typically this technique is used in gardening, but here at the Green Seattle Partnership we are re-thinking how to use this method as a way to amend degraded soils. Camp Long Forest Steward, Jarret Griesemer, led a hands-on training to teach other stewards about how hugelkultur can be used as a way to establish plants in areas where die-off has been an issue. Jarret discussed the benefits of Hugelkultur and taught us the necessary steps to creating your own Hugelkultur experiment, which are outlined below:
Steps to Build your Own Hugelkultur Mound
Thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to learn more about Hugelkultur and how to apply its techniques to forest restoration. We can’t wait to watch the mounds we installed at Camp Long transform into fruitful planting areas. For those of you who are interested in learning more about Hugelkultur, make sure to check out these helpful resources:
Ettinger Article on Seed Regeneration and Lack of Downed Wood
Jarret Griesemer’s Hugelkultur Steps
King Conservation District Resources
Washington State University Resources
Stewardship Coordinator at Forterra
Blog and photos by Nicole Marcotte
A big THANK YOU to Jarret Griesemer for the great lesson on Hugelkultur, and to Elizabeth Housley for organizing the training.