Largest Hugelkultur in Henry County VA

It was a pleasure to help with the largest hugelkultur bed in Henry County VA (Ridgeway) — quite possibly the largest in all of south central Virginia. At more than 240 feet long this earthworks will hold more than 35,906 gallons of water.

Here’s some footage from my visit to the budding permaculture center at The Sustainable Homestead conceived by Scott Vernon.

With a watershed that includes a hardscape road and buildings, this raised bed will stand more than five feet tall on center full of several tons of logs. Planted with cover crops to start, this is a part of several earthworks below the greenhouse to support on-going training classes.

Hugelkultur or “mound culture” is a land management approach that facilitates spreading, soaking, and retention of water. Each mound contains dead wood, brush, and other woody materials.

As these materials break down over time they create a rich hummus. Soil mounds over this wood become nutrient rich growing areas. Deep rooting plants draw up moisture from mounds as they decompose.

Hugelkultur comes in all sizes. For broad acres these mounds came to be with light construction equipment. Smaller beds can be dug with shovel and rake. Each plays the same function in landscape.

For class schedules, plus details about other permaculture training across the region, contact us.

Scott Vernon is a permaculture design consultant and trainer. His goal is to provide students first hand knowledge of what it takes to create self-enriching abundant agricultural systems through environmental connection and ancestral skills immersion. To learn more about The Sustainable Homestead visit