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Gardener shares centuries-old hack with surprising benefits for your plants: 'You are a genius'

"[This] allows you to grow an abundance of fresh food for a fraction of the price."

"[This] allows you to grow an abundance of fresh food for a fraction of the price."

Photo Credit: Instagram

If you have raised beds in your garden, you know how expensive and time-consuming it is to fill them with soil. 

However, Instagram garden pro Joe's Garden (@joesgarden.official) revealed a genius hack to avoid spending a fortune on soil using a centuries-old gardening method from Eastern Europe and Germany called hugelkultur

The scoop

Raised beds have many advantages, such as better pest and soil control, improved drainage, and longer harvests since the soil warms more quickly. Unfortunately, the cost of soil can easily eclipse any benefits you get from raised beds.

This hack quickly resolves that issue using only a few materials, which you can find at a garden or hardware store or around your home if you live in a wooded area. 

"Simply line the bottom with cardboard to suppress the weeds and add a mixture of logs, twigs, and organic materials such as straw on top," Joe says in the video. 

He adds, "This helps to dramatically reduce the volume of compost and soil needed, which allows you to grow an abundance of fresh food for a fraction of the price."

"Over time, the organic matter does slowly break down, causing the structure to drop a bit, so each year, I like to add fresh compost on top," he said in the caption. 

How it's helping

In the caption, Joe said it costs him £150-250 ($192-320) to fill his large raised beds. That can easily break the bank, especially if you have multiple containers. 

While you may have to spend money on the other materials if you don't have access to them in nature, it's still a great return on your investment because large logs can take up to five years to break down, according to Vego Garden

All the plant matter will also add nutrients to the soil, making your plants healthier. 

However, Joe said in the comments section that if you can't use logs or twigs, you can usually find large bags of cheap straw at pet shops as an alternative. 

While this gardening method requires a lot of upfront work, it's easier on your back and joints since you don't have to bend down as far. You'll also feel the positive mental and physical health effects of getting your hands in the soil, a win-win for you and Mother Nature.

In addition to saving money on soil, growing your own food this way can help you save money on groceries and reduce the pollution and resources associated with buying mass-produced, globally shipped produce. 

What everyone's saying

Commenters were impressed with the hack and eager to try it. 

"You are a genius," someone said, adding a few hand-clapping emojis.

"We love this method too! That veg is picture perfect," another added.

"Joe, that is such a helpful tip! We've got an old water tank on our allotment plot and filling it up with soil/compost would cost a fortune — now I know how to make it affordable. Thank you so much!" said one grateful commenter.

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