The blueberry hugel bed

Over the past week or so, I had been making preparations for the building of a sixth hugel bed. This one was to be different in that it was going to be filled with a big no-no: pine.

Pine is acidic and the hope is that this hugel bed will therefore provide the right environment for the blueberry bush. So far, the bush has done fine in the garden, though not produced many berries this year because of new growth (I think). However, if I was going to go the trouble of doing a lot of digging to improve the soil, it made sense to use acidic wood in the hugel bed.

Indeed, it was quite a lot of trouble to dig the hole required for all the wood I wanted to put in it. The soil was hard after this dry spell, although much easier to dig than where I put the rose bush last week. Very few worms, though. Which hopefully will change now a lot of organic matter,  albeit needing as yet to decompose, has gone into the hole.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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15 Responses to The blueberry hugel bed

  1. andy1076 says:

    Here’s to sweet blueberries coming up ☺️

  2. I hope the pine helps, we also planted ours in the soil from around our pines. And we use the needles for mulch. They look great, but we’ll have to wait til next year to see if they produce. Here’s hoping for us both!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, here’s hoping for both of us. My blueberry bush produced in my actual garden soil (neutralish), so I am sure you will be fine. What I need now is a second blueberry bush to complement the first.

  3. Lovely update thank you for sharing have a blessed day Helen

  4. atkokosplace says:

    Blueberries! Great idea! Best of luck to you!

  5. Kalamain says:

    Yeah… You really need a second bush to get a decent crop.

    Genius idea of making the hugel bed from pine. But will it affect anything planted near it?

    • Helen says:

      I guess it depends how deep the roots go. I’ve put strawberries on the mound but as they are shallow rooted, they might not be affected anyway. And I’m using the space to grow a tomato plant, working on the assumption the pine won’t take effect just yet 😊.

  6. Angus says:

    So 2 years or so later – did it work as planned? I’m considering doing a similar project for blueberries 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your question, Angus.

      Since building this hugel bed I’ve discovered that my soil is neutral (and could tend towards acid, based on the information from British Geological Survey). Therefore the concept of this bed may not be as necessary as I thought. However, in the long run (in theory) there should still be benefit in terms of increased moisture available to the plants.

      The issue at this present time is that the wood in the bed in question has still not started to rot. Also, with the soil on top being so thin, made thinner by falling between the branches of pine, there hasn’t been anything to move the blueberry bush into.

      Upon reflection, I would therefore recommend using just the pine needles, as these decompose so much more quickly. Although of course it does depend on your overall context.

      • Barry says:

        Another three years and I’m reading this, looking for advice on a construction of a blueberry mound. I am using entire pine trees as you did but I have a small bulldozer at my disposal for the day so I will make sure to drive over the branches after chopping them up with my chainsaw to compress the mess before adding cow manure and soil.

        • Helen says:

          Yes, it seems a good idea to break up/crush the pine trees before putting them in the ground. My mound settled but the branches weren’t rotting, so it has never had a blueberry bush planted on it.

          Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. If you remember, it would be interesting for you to come back and tell me how you got on, Barry.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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