‘HugelKultur’ Building Rich Soil


Soil can be built up using a simple technique called Hugelkultur, designed by a German permaculture engineer Sepp Holzer. Where improved soil conditions are desired, soil is put on top of a bed of rotten wood. The decomposition process creates “alive soil” that’s self sufficient and doesn’t require fertilizer, mechanical tilling, or much water.



  • The rotting of the wood warms the soil, increasing growing times, fertilizes the soil, and keeps the soil moist.  It turns it into living soil.

  • The buried wood acts as a moisture capture system. It doesn’t requires much watering, and is great in arid areas.

  • You can bury the wood in a trench or build a raised bed, depending on the water, sun and wind flows.

  • The more rotten the wood, the better. Wood that isn’t that rotten sucks nitrogen during the early rotting phase.

  • Hugelkultur beds require years to mature. However, they require little maintenance and can last as long as 30 years.

  • Done at scale over acres, this technique can turn barren environments into lush and productive landscapes.

More detailed instructions can be found at the Rich Soil site and in this video:


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