The first sprouts of the jerusalem artichokes are beginning to poke out of the leaf mulch of the hugelkultur bed that my 4 year old son and I built and planted last weekend. For some information on hugelkultur beds check out my previous post on jerusalem artichokes.
There are two different techniques in building a hugelkultur bed. You can place all the large logs at ground level and then cover them with soil, or you can place the logs in a pit. The second technique provides you with soil to cover the bed. This is the method we chose. We didn’t have any extra soil around so it seem to be the more sustainable method since we didn’t have to purchase soil from offsite.
First we dug a trench about 1 foot deep and 10′ x 4′. We then filled the trench with a bunch of rotting logs from a maple tree limb that had fallen 3 or 4 years ago.
The next layer to go on was larger limbs. Most of these were either from fallen storm limbs or tree prunings.
We then added another layer of small limbs that were found randomly throughout the yard and on the edge of the woods and then added a large pile of mostly oak and maple leaves that we had saved from last fall.
We then placed the soil that came from the dug trench on top of the leaf layer, planted the jerusalem artichoke tubers and then placed a 1/2″ layer of shredded leaves on top as a mulch.
I still need to place some type of boarder around the bed (probably logs). I would also like to add a few herbs or beneficial flowers to the bed. If anyone knows of any good companions for jerusalem artichokes, let me know by leaving a comment. Also feel free to leave and comments with your thoughts regarding our process in constructing our first hugelkultur bed. The next update on the hugelkultur bed will probably be once they are fully up and flowering. I plan on also posting on the harvesting process and how we plan on using them.