Hugelkultur Berms: What Are They? How to Build Them? And Why?

Hugelkultur (noun – German – translates to “mound culture”) is a horticultural technique where mounds constructed of wood material, such as fell trees and other compostable biomass, are used as raised planting beds. Practiced in Germany and Eastern European societies for hundreds of years, the technique is being revitalized as a important sustainable solution in modern regenerative gardens.

Regenerative Benefits of Hugelkultur:

  • Sequesters carbon on site by burying debris and woody material in the ground
  • Retains moisture on site through rainwater capture and thermal mass
  • Improves soil health due to an increase of nutrients from the decaying wood and the subsequent increase of mycorrhizal fungi and other organisms in the soil food web
  • Landforming not only helps to slow and allow water to infiltrate, but creates an opportunity for natural screening and orchestrating experiences in the garden
  • Enhancing habitat value
  • And much, much more…..

Be sure to visit the amazing Leigh Adams on Tuesdays at the Los Angeles County Arboretum to experience the magic of hugelkultur in the Crescent Farm.

The Crescent Farm at the LA County Arboretum is a demonstration garden presenting a myriad of regenerative techniques. Visitors can witness a 5 year old display of hugelkultur, water harvesting and optimization through various types of swales, contouring and infiltration techniques. Highlights of the garden are a perennial meadow and the creative use of biomass, multiple substitutes for water hungry lawns, pollinator habitats and a unique expression of community contribution.

Leigh is the winner of the United Nations Global Citizen Award, City of Los Angeles Angel Award and LA County’s Outstanding Citizen Award……she loves trees, plants, dogs and kids and  identifies as an Educator, Artist, Activist!  She is also a personal hero of mine.

Leigh Adams – Artist-in-Residence and Interpretive Horticulturalist at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and Consultant at Metabolic Studio

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