How to make a 'Hugelbeet' long lasting garden bed

Thanks very much to Carol Henderson, a local Otepoti Urban Organics network member, who sent me this great pictorial she made about how to construct a 'Hugelbeet'. A Hugelbeet is a form of mounded garden that contains lots of organic matter and will just keep churning out those crops for a few years without too much extra nutrient application. You can be creative with the specific ingredients used, based on whats avalaible. The basic idea is coarser longer lasting stuff in the core, moving out through sod, leaves, seaweed, and topped off with a layer of compost/soil. Cool stuff!


STEP 1: This was a lawn which had been reduced to "ground zero" by the chickens in preparation. I had skimmed the grass off around the perimeter to use as a path and lined it with newspaper , cardboard and coffee sacks. Then I skimmed off a layer of "sods" around the edge of what is to be my hugelbeet.

This is the view from the opposite end where I thought it gave a better view.

STEP 2: The "core" of branches and rough stuff.

STEP 3: The layer of 'sod'

STEP 4: The thick layer of leave...I cheated a bit since I didn't have enough and used some rotted pine needles from the paths

STEP 5: I covered the rotted pine needles with grass clippings and then emptied the used tomato bags on the top. The white stuff is Gypsum as the ground is solid clay.

Side view! The diagram I was following had the ends cut away but since the area I was using had pointy ends I just went with that.I decided to include the edges in the rough compost stage otherwise nothing would grow there ...unless the hugelbeet spread!!

STEP 6: Next.....the rough compost. I assumed this meant compost which wasn't quite ready and I just happened to have a bin full of it :)

STEP 7: I decided to use the bags of seaweed collected last week as an extra layer...very smelly!! Then I put the pine needles down on the path but didn't have quite enough. Now it has to be covered in 15cm of soil but I have to bring that up in buckets from the gully and that will probably take all week!!

Note: I ended up emptying out one of my new deep beds on top of all this and putting some edging around to keep it from flowing onto the path.


Thanks again Carol for your awesome contribution. If anyone else out there has pictorials etc. like this but your having trouble uploading it here, just drop me an email and I can help you out! Cheers, Bart (



 Thank-you Carol and Bart, this is fantastic! Great photos and explanation.

 Any chance we could get an

 Any chance we could get an update on how this bed is working now? thanks.

Hugelbeet update

Hey....great that you used this Bart...I hadn't realised until just now so will try to give an update:)

There has been almost continuous ( successful!) cropping in this bed with parsnips and manglebeets along the top the first year with lettuce.peas and brassicas around the sides with some perennials like wasab ,mitsuba and salad bunet at one end. Some Jerusalem artichokes got in there somehow and I haven't been able to get them all out so I purposely planted some nice smooth ones at the south end to shelter the rest of the bed. This year I used it to bring on my red and blackcurrant cuttings with lettuce planted between them and they are looking great so far although most of the lettuce has been eaten or shaded out now. One of the Cavolo Nero plants I cut off at the base has regrown so I am pleased about that! Also I decided to put in some extra peas I had to grow up with the jerusalem artichokes and this seems to be working well and they haven't got the mildew like my other peas.

The path around it was dangerously slippery at one side in the winter so I took off the cardboard and put down some chippings and that worked.

I will try to get a good recent photo....the one I have from last year was taken from the upstairs window and it just looks like a jungle! Looking at it now I see there was some red orach and nz spinach in there too! 

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this type of garden creation to anyone :) You don't have to do it all at once or on your own like I did!! And as Bart says , you can be creative about what you use :)




I made a hugelkultur for my spuds - it's magic. I didn't do quite as many steps but after the spuds come out I am doing a green fertiliser and then in go my brassicas.

 Thanks for the update,

 Thanks for the update, fantastic. Would love to see some more photos when you can get some. cheers.