My hubby recently came up with an idea combining a traditional low-tunnel with loose hugelkultur principles: a low tunnel log planter. I waited a couple of weeks to post this on the blog, because it is still a bit of an experiment! However, our seeds have sprouted now, so I take that as a good sign.
Normally, a low tunnel system is used to extend the growing season into the fall or for overwintering plants. We used it to start our cool-weather greens in the early spring and protect them from late frosts. Of course, now that it’s getting warmer, the plastic can come off to let those babies see the sun. (If you want some low-tunnel inspiration, Mother of a Hubbard is famous for her low-tunnels that grew greens through the winter under 15″ of snow, additional ice, and subzero temperatures.)
In typical hugelkultur, logs are buried under soil and rich organic material to create a nutritious place for your plants to grow. This bed doesn’t really fit the hugelkultur model, but it does nod to the same idea: taking advantage of old wood’s decomposition to provide food for the plants. Think of it as a planter box with benefits.
To make this bed, Tim cut down an old rotting tree at the edge of our yard (a hazard, to say the least) and carved out a deep groove down the middle with a chainsaw. He then filled it with soil and planted the seeds. Next, he made little hoops out of wire to stick in the wood (you can drill little holes if needed), and covered it with plastic.