Hügel Style Raised Beds for Cannabis Resin Production

Before you can extract high quality cannabis resin using our Ice-Water Extraction Equipment you must first produce the resin.

At Hashtek we go through a lot of fresh frozen flower in the testing, production and refinement of our solventless extraction machines. There is no substitute for real world testing with the cannabis flower.

Our experience with commercial resin production has led us to favoring sun-grown, organic ‘living soil’ style beds over anything else.

Although Indoor growing has some advantages, the cost per gram of rosin produced is typically exponentially higher compared to sun grown. Coupled with the fact that terpene expressions and VOC percentages tend to be higher with sun grown flowers, the writing really seems to be on the wall for indoor growing when it comes to resin production. 

For outdoor cannabis cultivation, we’ve tried a number of methods including subirrigated planters, raised beds with salt irrigation systems, large pots and Hügel style raised beds. Hügel style beds have been our favorite so far as the growth is astronomical, there’s no ongoing input costs with salts and they’re extremely sustainable. Lasting upwards of 10-15 years before re-digging is necessary.

True Hügelkultur culture is done by making a pile of organic matter starting with logs and then sticks and then whatever dirt you can find and overtime. This mound settles and becomes a flat. As the organic matter is decomposing, it provides a rich substrate for microbial activity. A complex system of micro and macronutrients that salt fertigation can never quite replicate.

These beds we call ‘Hügel style’ because we’re not exactly making mounds, they would be somewhat unsightly in a suburban backyard. We are digging a trench and the building the sides up 24″ for a total depth of around 40″. Rich decaying organic matter forms the base for these healthy beds that your plants will love.

The Basics

  1. Dig a hole 1.5 to 2 feet deep
  2. Fill it with decaying logs, leaves and any other organic matter you can find
  3. Build 18-30” raised beds
  4. Fill with compost and soil
  5. Amend as necessary
  6. Water down
  7. Plant seeds, seedlings or clones
  8. Optional – Add rice hulls or straw to promote moisture retention
  9. Setup watering system

Dig a hole 1.5 to 2 feet deep

Digging the hole helps because you want some seperation between the soil and the decomposing wood layer. Decomposing wood can suck a lot of nitrogen.

Fill it with decaying logs, leaves and any other organic matter you can find

The layer of decaying organic matter will provide a rich substrate for microbial life. This layer will also soak up water, helping the plants during dry periods, particularily in areas with high drainage soil.

In a suburban area it is harder than you might think to find good decomposing wood. If you live in and around a big city you will need to find a local forest.

Build 18-30” raised beds

We used 12′ sections of 2×12 logs. This means the beds were approximately 22.5″ in height off the ground. Digging down about 18″ meant we have 40″ working height, plenty of room to keep the decomposing wood from robbing the plants of nitrogen.

Use regular framing lumber, not pressure treated or plywood which has chemicals which can leech into the garden. They say the new pressure treated wood is fine but we still do not trust it.

Torch the wood

Propane torch was used to char the wood on both sides. Yakisugi (or shou sugi ban) is the traditional Japanese method of wood preservation. By slightly charring the surface of the wood without combusting the whole piece, the wood becomes water-proof through the carbonisation and is thus more durable. We just did a very slight charring which may have only had an aesthetic effect. Either way it makes the wood look nicer.

Fill with compost and soil

Compost – we got two trailers for free from the municipal dump. This is primarily collected leaves and yard waste that gets shredded. Nathan at Black Swallow soil mentioned that most all garden centre sources of compost are municipal.

Amend as necessary

The soil we got was “greenbelt” from Black Swallow living soils in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. This particular blend had been used for a couple of runs of microgeens. It was slightly low on nitrogen but full of life otherwise. We supplemented the beds with ground alfa alfa to give a boost of nitrogen.

Water down

Give everything a good soaking of water as you fill the layers. This will help fill in cracks and will allow you to fill the beds more effectively.

Plant seeds, seedlings or clones

We started the year with clones and a couple mother plants which was overkill. The plants got out of control and required and immense amount of work. But it is a hard thing to complain about.

The preferred method is to start from seed (over-planting x2 for eventual males that will need to be removed). This provides robust plants that been exposed to the elements.

Optional – Add rice hulls or straw to promote moisture retention

Rice hulls or straws can help with water retention, especially in the early days before the plants provide shade cover for the soil. We had leftover rice hulls which were used

Setup Automated Watering

It is nice to setup a couple of dripper lines with filtered water on a timer. I give about 30 minutes of water every morning during veg. In early flower we have noticed that depriving the plants of some water can help steer them towards flowering earlier. This is an essential step

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