planting an Alaska hugelkultur

Planting the Hugelkultur

Dad & Amy, my awesome stepmom, came all the way from Florida to help get my garden set up & seedlings into the ground. We finally got to plant the hugelkultur that my husband & I built last fall!

I had 5 cubic yards of organic topsoil dumped in the driveway. That topsoil went to a few different projects, mainly a wooden planter box, the hugelkultur, the front yard garden bed. Here’s my poppa and me, standing behind the mound. (He’s probably asking me why I got so much dirt.) Let the fun begin!

5 cubic yards of topsoil

The Box Planter

Prepping the box planter was simple. When we moved into the house last fall, it was fairly empty (besides rusty nails and staples). After removing anything that would give me tetanus, the only thing left to do was fill ‘er up and toss some seeds in.

Dad shovels well…he shovels very well. (There’s your daily Mystery Men quote, dad. Here’s the 1999 trailer for anyone who doesn’t remember my father’s all-time fave movie.)

filling a planter with topsoil

The Hugelkultur

Last fall, Brian and I created the hugelkultur, which is a huge raised bed filled with compostable yard materials. (Click here to see pictures from the hugelkultur post and see how we built it.)

Amy and dad shoveled a few inches of topsoil over the raised bed to get it ready for planting. Here I am poking holes into the hugelkultur for seedlings.

poking seeds holes into a hugelkultur

I found a bundle of bright orange construction-looking flags at Lowe’s. I planted all vegetables, some seedlings that I started, a few seedlings from a local nursery, and some direct seeds. I wrote notes on the flags and marked each new row, detailing exactly what variety is planted in that row and where it came from.

Amy pointed out that I would need stepping stones if I wanted to plant the very top without putting a big footprint in the hugelkultur. We found a pile of old bricks laying around, so I used what was readily available (and free!). I quickly discovered that when you make a giant raised bed like this, designated stepping areas are a necessity.

planting a hugelkultur in Alaska

While I worked on the hugelkultur, dad mowed and weed whacked the yard (the most masculine of the gardening jobs), and Amy sprinkled her gardening fairy dust around the front yard garden bed…

The Front Yard Garden Bed

Take a look at this photo from March 29th. Clearly, the previous homeowner just gave up. I don’t think the front bed area needs much of an explanation. This is the “before” photo.

front yard in March

Aaand here’s the “after” photo. Once I finished planting the hugelkultur in the backyard, I walked around to the front yard to see this. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Pure. Gardening. Magic.

the front yard landscaped

Amy was worried I wouldn’t like her drainage rock bed. Really, Amy? The front yard now looks like it’s straight from the front cover of the Better Homes and Gardens gardening special edition magazine. Thank you!

decorative drainage rock bed in Alaska

As we were putting the last few plants into the ground, Amy, while leaning on a shovel, looked at me and said, “I sure hope you got a BEFORE picture!” I smiled, because I knew I did.

Amy & I went inside to fill our wine glasses, while dad laid down and had himself a well-deserved nap.

Dad enjoying the day