Thoughts On Hugelkultur, Food Forests, Aquaponics and Other Popular Food Growing Methods

On today’s podcast episode 58 I give my thoughts on a few popular food growing methods that seem to be the hot topics in homesteading today. Are these methods something you should be doing or are they just a shiny object that looks good on the surface but have no place on your homestead?

Some of the food growing methods I will be talking about are:


A composting process employing raised beds constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds.

Food Forests 

A low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat.


Any system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.

Straw Bale Gardening 

Simply a different type of container gardening. The main difference is that the container is actually the straw bale itself, held together with two or three strings, the outside crust of the bale serves as the container. Once the straw inside the bale begins to decompose, the straw becomes “conditioned” and ready to plant.

Tower Gardens 

A vertical, aeroponic growing system, allows you to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers in less than three square feet.

Wicking Beds

A garden bed with a waterproof lining that holds a reservoir of water at the bottom from which water is drawn upwards like a wick to the surface of the bed.

Gutter Gardens

Pieces of rain gutters as long pots to be used in order to utilize spaces that normally aren’t used for growing like along fences and up walls.

Deep Mulch Gardening 

“Back To Eden” Method –uses layers of mulch to crush weeds, keep the soil moist and add organic matter.

Herb Spirals

A raised bed built into a spiral upward creating a variety of microclimates that accommodate a variety of herbs.

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