A few years ago we found ourselves with a hot tub that no longer functioned. Rather than hauling it off to the dump we decided to make a garden out of it. Because we were completely unemployed at the time, an economical way had to be found to use little soil yet fill the tub up so it could grow veggies. After some research, we decided to try an experiment with hugulkultur in a controlled environment. We filled that sucker up with brush, leaves, and dead wood, tossed a layer of compost over the top, then waited and waited and waited, all the while growing veggies in it. Our hope was that the experiment would be successful enough that we could use the hot tub to build soil that was good quality for adding to already established beds or for making new ones since true soil here is nonexistent.
After growing successfully for near two years, in the tub, we decided to see how the soil was coming along. It was still looking a little rough looking and had pieces of twigs and branches throughout so we threw some straw over the top and grew potatoes in it and later a crop of tomatoes.
This spring when we began digging to see how things were going Lo and behold, everything had decomposed and we had three feet of beautiful,wormy, healthy, happy soil.
I am currently in the process of moving the soil to where I need it and only saving enough of it to begin the process again. It worked well enough that we are now working on a couple actual beds using the same methods. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. Though hugulkultur is a great method of building soil it does have a couple of downfalls that I will post about in the next installment of our hugulkultur experiment.