What Should You Plant In Hugelkultur Beds?


Hugelkulture Bed Vegetable Harvest

Completing a hügelkultur bed is a huge undertaking and should be something you are proud of. As you want people to see your new creation, you want it to look pretty and be functional. So what are some plants you can plant in your hügelkultur beds?

If you want to plant biennials, go for Black-eyed Susan, Clary Sage, Evening Primrose, Forget-Me-Nots, or Celery. If you wish to annual plants, then plant Vinca, Cosmos, Peas, Angelonia, or Watermelon. If you want perennial plants, then plant some Basil, Lavender, Mint, or Chives.

Are there any plants that you should not grow in a hügelkultur bed? Can you grow root vegetables in a hügelkultur bed? What are biennial, annual, and perennial plants? Let us find out!

Plants To Grow in Hugelkultur Beds

So, you have built your new hügelkultur bed, and everything is ready for you to start planting, but you do not know what to plant or where to begin deciding which plants to grow. Well, there are a lot of plants that you can choose from.

First, you will need to decide how long you want your plants to be in the hügelkultur. Do you only want plants to survive one year so you can switch them out for a new look next year? Or do you want plants that will grow in your hügelkultur almost indefinitely, so you do not need to worry about replanting? We will cover all this below to help you make your choice.

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening
  • Sepp Holzer s Permaculture A Practical Guide to Small Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening
  • Holzer, Sepp (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/11/2011 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

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Biennials For Hugelkultur Beds

The plants you should grow in your hügelkultur will depend on how long you want the plants to last in your hügelkultur bed. Let us go through your options.

Biennial plants are plants that need two years to complete their Lifecycle fully. These plants will sprout and grow in the spring, then survive the winter months and grow more in the second year. In the second year of its Lifecycle, the plant will bloom and then die.

Some examples of biennial plants are

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Clary Sage
  • Evening Primrose
  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Cabbages
  • Brussel Sprouts

Annuals For Hugelkultur Beds

Annual plants are plants that will not live longer than one year when they are planted from seed in your hügelkultur bed. Annual plants will sprout, bloom and die all within the 12 months of the year. This year is not always a calendar year, but the plant will not live past 12 months.

Some examples of Annual plants are:

  • Angelonia
  • Begonia
  • Vinca
  • Cosmos
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Watermelon

Perennials For Hugelkultur Beds

Perennial plants are the plants that will last the longest in your hügelkultur beds as these plants will live longer than two years if they are well looked after. By the perennial definition, most plants on the earth are perennials, including trees, but you cannot plant trees in your hügelkultur, so here are some perennial plant examples that you can plant:

  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Fennel
  • African Daisy
  • Aster
  • Day Lily

Alluim Plants For Hugelkultur Beds

Some plants are easier to keep in a hügelkultur bed than others; this is where the group of plants known as Alluim plants comes in. these plants are extremely easy to grow in hügelkultur beds, and they do not take much effort from your side to remain happy and healthy.

If you plant Alluim plants in your hügelkultur bed, they will provide you with some delicious ingredients to make your recipes with, but they also offer protection to your other plants in the hügelkultur bed.

Each Alluim plant offers protection from different pests that may be attacking your hügelkultur plants. For example, onions are a great plant to grow as you can use them in many dishes, but they will also repel small white butterflies, cabbage looper, and rabbits. So, if you have a problem with any of these, just plant some onions.

Another example is the humble Leek, used in many different and delicious soup recipes, but they also repel the carrot fly from your garden. Garlic is another good Alluim plant to grow in your hügelkultur bed as they repel cabbage loopers, root maggots, peachtree borers, and Mexican bean beetles.

Learn more about growing garlic in permaculture from this article.

Other Good Plants To Grow In Hugelkultur Beds

Here is a list of other plants that will work very well in a hügelkultur; you just need to be careful which plants you plant together as some do not grow well if they are close to each other. So, do your compatibility research before you plant these plants in the same hügelkultur bed.

  • Peppers
  • Soybeans
  • Sea Buckthorn
  • Sweet Fern
  • Northern Bayberry
  • Lentils
  • Velvet Bean
  • Borage
  • Clover
  • Autumn Olive
  • Alfalfa
  • Coriander
  • Salsify
  • Russian Silverberry
  • Milk Thistles
  • Marrows

Hugelkultur Beds And Root Vegetables

So, hügelkultur beds are good for plants and vegetables that grow above ground, but what about vegetables that grow underground? Root vegetables are not a good idea to plant in a hügelkultur bed, at least for the first few seasons that you have it.

This is unless you do not mind going without a harvest of root vegetables as most of the root vegetables will get stuck inside the branches of the hügelkultur bed. But if you want a good harvest of root vegetables, then plant them somewhere else in your garden.

Some root vegetables may provide a different service to your hügelkultur bed rather than offering you a harvest. For example, having a potato plant in your hügelkultur bed will provide other plants with some good shade and will help improve the bed’s soil. So, you can plant root vegetables in your hügelkultur if you require these factors in it. 

What Not To Grow In Hugelkultur Beds

With what seems like a list that will never end of plants and vegetables you can grow in your hügelkultur bed, are there any plants that you should stay away from? Yes, there are several plants that do not work well at all in hügelkultur beds. Most of these plants will strip the hügelkultur bed of nitrogen, making it inhabitable for other plants.

Here is a list of what you should not plant in your hügelkultur bed:

  • Strawberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Rye
  • Woad
  • Wormwood
  • Rapeseed
  • Currents
  • Tobacco
  • Oats
  • Mustards
  • Sorghum

Conclusion

Hugelkultur beds are great to have on your property, and you can grow so much in them. These plants that were mentioned above are only the beginning; there are many, many more plants that will do wonderfully in hügelkultur beds. The ones above are the easiest to look after, perfect for a first-time hügelkultur gardener. Have fun propagating your hügelkultur bed with some new plants!

Harold Thornbro

Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Public Speaker, Teacher, Homesteading and Permaculture Enthusiast. If You're Looking For Me, You'll Find Me In The Garden.

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