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Farmers demonstrate ancient method to repurpose your excess weeds and sticks: 'So glad I found this'

"Perfect solution to my brush pile problem AND my drainage problem!"

"Perfect solution to my brush pile problem AND my drainage problem!"

Photo Credit: Instagram

If you've recently cleared your yard of sticks and weeds, don't bag them and toss it — use that yard waste to grow more plants with a hügelkultur bed.

The scoop

Portland's Rhythm Seed Farm (@rhythmseedfarm) posted a video showing how its community garden constructed a hügelkultur in a matter of just two hours.

The video breaks it down into five easy steps. First, sort everything into piles by size (big sticks, small sticks, and weeds). Next, layer the big sticks and pack them with compost and weeds to form the mound's foundation. Move on to smaller sticks, and top the entire bed with four to six inches of compost. 

Then, they wrote, "dance on it!"

"Ta-da!" the video concluded, showcasing a large, gently rounded bed ready for planting. "Less than 2 hours later and the pile is magically transformed! The power of community."

"Now plant a native plant garden there!" one person enthused.

How it's working

Hügelkultur is a German word that means mound or hill culture; it's an ancient technique that's been used to grow abundant plants and crops for thousands of years. 

According to Oklahoma State University, "a well-built hügelkultur is a self-watered, self-composting raised garden with few irrigation and fertilization needs. This garden bed is perfectly designed to capture rainwater runoff for sustainable stormwater management and can serve as a windbreak."

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In addition to serving as an efficient way to upcycle yard waste and compost — while sequestering carbon — a hügelkultur bed offers several other benefits. 

Its rounded shape conserves water and prevents flooding during heavy rains, protecting the rest of the landscape. As the compost and other organic materials decompose, they release nutrients into the soil, enriching the soil's health and making it an ideal place to grow everything from native plants to healthy, affordable food.

What people are saying

Commenters were excited to try building the hügelkultur for themselves and putting their yard debris to great use. "This looks like so much fun!" one person enthused.

"Perfect solution to my brush pile problem AND my drainage problem!" another wrote. "So glad I found this!"

Some experts have also built inside raised beds; either way, it's an effective and safe use of yard scraps and an excellent example of permaculture — a method that, per the Permaculture Research Institute, is "the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems."

"Love this!" another said.

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