The chickens have their own ideas on how to do this

chickens on a raised garden bed

Roger (left), Buff and Jonesy (right) “helping” me build a hugelskultur raised bed

After the amazing success of my keyhole garden, I’ve decided to try out another type of raised bed called a Hugelkultur bed (or Hügelkultur for you umlaut lovers).

It’s a German word for “mound bed” and it’s basically a compost pile turned inside out. The bottom layer is wood (in this case feijoa, kiwi and citrus). Piled on that is a generous helping of leaf litter which I then topped off with a whole bunch of 4 o’clocks that were taking over a path to the vegetable garden.

The final layer will be some good, rich soil from the compost pile, but I’m not quite there yet because my mound building is being interrupted by the chickens. Fortunately, they add their own fertilizer to the mix, so I’m going to let them scratch around and settle the hill a bit before finishing the bed off.

I’m not entirely certain what I’m going to plant in the bed once it’s done, but I’ve got some corn, squash and beans sprouting in the greenhouse, so maybe I’ll do a “three sisters” thing with it this first time around.