On Friday 16th August, as part of Sow the City's Growing Manchester programme, Platt Fields Market Garden (PFMG) hosted our first Hügelkultur Workshop. The day was hosted by Mike, with the glamorous assistance of Kieron from Sow the City and Dan from Gaskell Garden Project, who's expert knowledge was invaluable throughout the day.
The workshop started with a site tour and H&S induction before a short history and theory lesson about Hügelkultur beds. As a group we decided which method to use to construct the bed with, gathered materials and began construction.
The bed was built by digging a trench to lay in the base layer of wood. We used Beech that had been felled about 6 months ago. The gaps in this layer were filled with twigs, smaller branches and leaf mould. We then continued to build up the bed with branches, twigs and green waste material from the market garden. We finished the top with a layer of semi-rotted compost and then a layer of well rotted compost. We decided to flatten the top of the bed to make it easier to plant into.
The weather wasn't in our favour but everyone braved the conditions and got nice and dirty during construction. To celebrate the construction of the mound we all walked across the top to end the session.
This is the 4th Hügelkultur bed we have constructed at PFMG. Every bed has a different mixture of materials and this one was the first time we have dug a trench for the base. Our aim at PFMG is to end our reliance on mains water. Hügelkultur beds can conserve water much more efficiently than flat ground as the wood absorbs rain water and releases it back into the soil. Along with rain water harvesting, Hügelkultur beds will help us save thousands of litres of water. We plan to construct more on site and experiment with inoculating wood with mushroom species in the future. Please come and visit us to see how they are doing and thanks to everyone who took part!
Below are some useful links for resources relating to Hügelkultur construction: