Hugelkulture Strawberry Bed

Hugelkulture, a German practice of making raised beds easily constructed of rotten wood and dirt. In turn, this makes raised beds full of organic matter. Perfect for draining and great for planting on/in.

Permaculture is using the resources you already have on your property and Hugelkulture is a step further by making raised beds with permaculture in mind.
I want a large strawberry bed....who doesn't love strawberries?! AND not the kind you buy at the grocery store, yuck- underdeveloped, picked when still whitish green with little to no flavor. No, I want the kind of strawberries my parents grow. Non-commercial varieties that host a wide flavor scale from peach to champagne undertones. Yes, those are what I want. Picking at peak to eat fresh, freeze and make jams for later.

This is how I constructed my 16X16 Hugelkulture bed:
--17 used, very old railroad ties- they are 8' long. I like the ones that have had the creosote used out of them - yes, I am sure trace amounts will still reside- but these are what I have on hand, they look good and I'm recycling. Canadian Pacific Railroad re-did all the railroads around here - even abandoned tracks (perfect for the weathered/used railroad ties).

--3 corn stalk bales (some people use rocks, but I wanted something that would breakdown- the neighbor that does organic farming had some free bales this early spring that I picked up (didn't know exactly what I'd do with them yet, but now I do!).
--1 year old + composted manure, 10 cu yards
--4-6 very large untreated pallets
--Strawberries to plant out
--Grass clippings for mulch
Mr. Hunky (my very handsome and strong husband-if you have not tried the Mr.Hunky soap, you will not be disappointed), laid the railroad ties two high with two sets on each end, making it 16 x 16 with one at the entrance for a long step.


With pallets laid, next is to

cover with the corn stalk mulch - you can even lay some cornstalks first, then the pallets and more corn stalkmulch on top

After corn stalks, lay the manure compost over that. Have to shove the cornstalks between the slats of the pallets and jump on them when covering with the compost manure to ensure it gets in there good.
How it's coming along... No pallets? Broken down trees on your property work super great. They add a lot to the soil when they break down. I used pallets because I think the lifted sections will be great for drainage and aeration.
Lots of composted manure! The ultimate for planting in.
Finished bed! Ready to plant my strawberries
The strawberries planted and mulched out with grass clippings to prevent weed growth. PLUS, grass clippings compost quickly adding nitrogen to the soil.
My strawberries are loving their new home! I will let them runner a bit so I continue to have strawberries over a few years before replacing some. I should literally get gallons and gallons each week during peak harvest time end of June to end of July.