I have only just heard of this German name but have been using this idea for some years now. The term means something like 'Mound Culture' which is what this is, though myself I use raised beds rather than just a mound, easier to keep the soil neat and tidy.
The idea is to make a raised bed (or just a mound if you prefer) and fill it part of the way up with the following -
- Wood shavings, wood chips.
- Straw or Hay.
- Grass cuttings.
- Vegetable peelings (avoid potatoes since these peelings will grow from the 'eyes').
Place the large logs in first, then smaller logs, branches and twigs, and then fill the gaps with wood chip etc. and then place the straw, hay or grass-cuttings on the top. Add at least 12 inches of top-soil which can either be from the compost-heap or using soil from the garden, mixed with sharp sand if it is clay soil. The whole thing will bed down during the next few weeks and may need some more soil added later.
These are just a guide and anything organic can be used to fill part of the growing area. I would recommend grass-cuttings, straw or hay since these give off immediate heat when they start to break down, this helps to heat up the soil quickly, especially when planting in the colder times of the year. Place these on top of the wood etc. There are certain advantages to using this system -
- This adds fill to the raised bed, saving using a lot of soil.
- The organic material holds water.
- The material breaks down and produces fertiliser which feeds the vegetables or fruit.
- The breaking down of the grass-cuttings, straw or hay produces immediate heat, whilst the breaking down of the wood produces long-term heat.
- The bed will be full of worms and microbes through the breakdown of the organic material. This is where vegetable peelings helps too, they will compost in the bed itself.
As you can see there is a distinct advantage when using this system, since it is almost self-reliant, self-watering and self-feeding, though some form of organic manure should be put in when this is started since the organic material needs time to break down and provide nutrients.
As I said, I have used this for many years now and had no problems at all; it is also a 'lazy man's' solution to life today since everyday waste can be used up and waste wood got rid of in the process. Of course, if you have not used it before you can still do so by moving the top-soil to one side in the bed and putting the organic material at the bottom, refilling with the soil, then doing the same for the other half of the bed.
There is another side to this since many local councils in England either charge or are putting into practice charging for the 'brown bins' used for garden waste. Make up a compost heap (using pallets is the easiest way) in which most garden waste can be put, burning what would not be suited for composting. Vegetable peelings from the kitchen can be put onto the heap too, although I try to use a plastic bin for these which stops the rats having a feast. Using your own garden waste and kitchen waste will save you about a pound a week and also provide you with your own compost, which would otherwise go to the local council who recycle to make money, money then wasted on crackpot schemes (very often destructive to our Folk) or lush lunch outings. This is also yet another way of becoming self-reliant.