In the photo above are three urban hugelkultur containers that I built this afternoon and planted with greens that will last all winter.  We will deliver these three pots to the Good Samaritans of Garland as a demonstration for the folks who go to the center.  I’m hoping that we will be able to have a class at the Good Samaritan Center one warm day in February and show folks how to make these small gardens.  If all goes according to plan, these containers will need little if any water beyond that provided by nature and no fertilizer.

Four pots such as these could provide a family of four with their weekly requirements for greens—and more if one of them is planted with sweet potatoes.


 Background on Hugelkultur Container

Urban hugelkultur containers may be my invention—but perhaps not so don’t quote me because, as some say, everything under the sun has already been invented.  Regardless, I’m proud to report that I built three urban hugelkultur containers today.

Our mission at Loving Garland Green is to pass on our enthusiasm and inventions for growing edibles to others in the DFW area.  To that end we realize that urban residents are busy and don’t have a lot of time.  We also realize that a lot of people in our community live in town homes and apartments and have limited room. 

The hugelkultur is a gardening method developed in Germany hundreds of years ago.  These beds are created by piling rotten logs on top of the ground and then layering with various kinds of organic matter:  brown leaves, green leaves, manure and garden soil.  The rotten logs hold water and also release nutrients as they decay.  This is a no-till method of gardening that imitates what happens in nature on the forest floor.  Many claim that hugelkultur beds are self-sustaining for up to twenty years and require no fertilizer and no additional water except in cases of extreme drought.




1.  Get a large pot. [We got ours for free as they were donated to the Community Garden.  But if you cruise the neighborhood you might find some curbside.  Two of the pots I used are 18 inches in diameter and 18 inches tall.  The smaller pot I used in 12 inches in diameter and 13 inches tall.]

2.  Put rotten wood in the bottom of the pot.  I put between one-fourth to one third of the total depth--about five inches.  [Walk through the woods and you’ll find plenty of rotten logs.]

3.  Soak the wood with water.

4.  Add a layer of brown organic matter. [I heaped in some dead leaves.]


5.  Add a layer of green organic matter.  {I heaped in some sweet potato vines from a recent harvest.]


6.  Add some manure.  {I put in some alpaca pooh.]


7.  Cover with another layer of dead leaves and water all thoroughly.


8.  Add garden soil that has been amended as needed.  {I added molasses granules and perlite to the soil I used.  It was already rich as I took it from a healthy bed that had previously been amended with Azomite.  For potted plants the soil should always be loose and light so it will drain well. ]

9.  Install your transplants.  [For veggies in pots, I recommend beginning with healthy transplants as opposed to beginning with seeds.  Instant gratification is always so much more fun.]

10.  Complete the build with mulch.  (I used straw.)




More Praise for Container Gardening

Just so happens, today was the day that Jane and Bob Stroud decided it was time to harvest their sweet potatoes down at the Garland Community Garden. 


This growing space of about four feet by six feet (two plastic bins) yielded twenty sweet potatoes.  However there was a lot more nutrition produced by those two bins than the twenty sweet potatoes.  The trellis behind the boxes was filled with sweet potatoes vines.  The leaves from these vines from just one bin would be sufficient to supply a family of four with greens from June until the middle of November. Sweet potato leaves a highly nutritious but remember:  don’t eat the leaves from the white potato, as it is a member of the nightshade family.  The sweet potato is not.



My Lemon tree has faithfully produced between 25 and 32 lemons every year since 2004.



I’m looking forward to harvesting horseradish from this pot shortly after the first killing frost.

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