Monee,  Permaculture

Experimenting with Hugelkultur!!

The team traveled to Monee on March 12th to survey the land and plant a hugelkultur bed. The Master Gardener Society of Oakland County gives this definition: “Hugelkultur, pronounced Hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound. It’s literally a raised garden bed that is built from the bottom up with logs, sticks and branches, wood chips, grass clippings, manure, leaves, food scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds . . . everything you would put into a compost heap.”

We scouted out our location and, after being sidelined by a fascination with a dead raccoon, started digging. John Betten, Erik Clayton, Drexel Clayton, Laura Thiessen, and Meghan Filizola took turns digging and telling stories while Tammy Perlmutter documented our venture.

In between digging turns, we lost a few people to the dead raccoon as they attempted to cut off the tail. This proved a daunting exercise requiring several sharp implements. Drexel was heard shouting, “I’m determined but this is SO disgusting!” He reigned victorious after some prolonged energetic sawing.

 

When the long trench was dug we threw in some rotting wood planks that were left on the property, then a layer twigs, compost from Jesus People and Everybody’s Coffee, and finally dead leaves. The mound-like raised bed will retain more moisture which works best since we won’t be at the property more than once a week. Right now it looks like we buried a body but soon enough life will be sprouting from it!!

 

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Tammy Perlmutter is a writer and an amateur naturalist. She is a Chicago Conservation Corps sustainability leader with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and wildlife monitoring volunteer for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Tammy was an urban rooftop beekeeper for two years and hopes to return to it someday.

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