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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hugel in a Pot

This year we are exploring the use of hugelkultur in container gardening.

The first order of business is to find a large pot. It does not need to be this large, but big can be fun! We were able to pick this one up for free (what a score), right after leaving the Seed Library's container gardening class (what fun). Fawn had a great time playing in it, like a big cardboard box but even more exciting, somehow!

I washed the pot with soap, water, and a natural enzyme spray. Before planting, I checked out the drainage situation. The pot only had holes in the bottom -- no bueno, as I had just learned from Master Gardener Tory Shook in the Seed Library class. Unless you're going to prop the pot up off the saucer, those holes on the base are not going to drain properly and may wreak havoc with the roots.

I drilled some holes on the sides at the base, for adequate drainage. Ready to plant!

Wait, not ready yet. First we need to play with the pot some more.

In the meantime, I made sure I had some planting materials ready. Here you can see a CanAm load of native soil, sand, well composted horse manure, and bark pieces. In the front seat is a nice big round of rotting aspen.

The native soil came from a special, unusual pocket on our property where the soil is dark and fluffy. Jackpot!

It feels so good in your hands, especially after you sift it.

Here we go...

But before placing any of that beautiful soil in the pot, we started with the aspen. It is sitting vertically in the pot to provide optimal access for plant roots to penetrate the rotting wood tissues.

Around the aspen we placed many pieces of bark from edging wood on the sawmill. Any kind of bark or sticks would do.

Now the sand and soil...

Smaller bark pieces...

...and lots of composted manure.


...and spearmint that was given to us from someone who had plenty to share. Since mint can be that way, we opted to plant it in our best container ever, to contain it! We can already picture mint tea on a chilly winter day.

*          *          *

Here are a couple of other ideas for utilizing wood in your container gardening:

Off-cuts from natural, untreated lumber

Punky, rotting firewood pieces, laid at an angle to fit, or placed vertically

However you slice it, wood is a great addition to your containers. And on top of acting like a sponge for moisture, wood helps create the mass you need to fill your space, too!

Please feel free to share your container gardening tips in the comments below.


  1. I love this idea! What a great find, coming across that immense pot.

    1. Thanks, Jacki! Yes, we were super happy to acquire the pot, it was serendipitous.

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