Winter has kicked in later than usual. Yesterday I took my bike for a ride along the Merri Creek and around to a Community Garden in Brunswick and I checked out a few of the basil plants in the shared garden and they were well and truly 'kaput' - 'finito'.
See the comparison photos. The Endive recently planted in pots and in the Hugelkultur. The Endive in the Hugelkultur is growing two or three times as fast.
There is also the wicking bed (wicker bed?) effect whereby I now rarely have to water it. These mounds are a brilliant invention emanating from Eastern Europe I believe. I must admit the vegie plants were getting established over the summer and they did require the usual daily watering but since Autumn I've rarely watered the HK. The lettuces didn't do so well, but then a lot of them got 'ET' by the possums.
What people may not have grasped is the Hugelkultur is a planting mound built up on rotting wood, decomposing branches and twigs, leaves, compost, soil - as long as the materials are not alleopathic (like Eucalyptus, black walnut) and provided they are fully dead - otherwise they will sprout through the mound.
One of the disadvantages is the erosion. As I have a strained wrist - too many years of landscaping and home maintenance - I have only topped it up with compost from time to time so it has sunken down a bit. Next one which I will build with HELP will have more straw added to maintain the height.
Ideally you do need two people to build it!
Hugelkulturs RULE! They are a tree recycler, carbon sequestration media, self-watering and give plants a longer time for harvesting. Plus they are great if you have a small garden because you build up not just out.