I have used hugelkutur in my garden for years with great results.
Full disclosure; I had never even heard of hugelkultur until a couple weeks ago when I stumbled across an article about the german method of basically covering wood with organic matter to create raised beds for planting.
I just did it to be thrifty.
When you have large containers to fill it can take a lot of soil. Even if you buy that soil by the truckload instead of the bagful, it still adds up in a hurry dollar-wise.
Consider that a stock trough is two feet deep and most vegetable roots will only go down one foot and you have a whole foot of soil that is basically just unused space.
I tried using styrofoam peanuts as filler once. And only once. Oh my goodness what a horrific mistake that was!
The idea was that the styrofoam when add filler while keeping the containers lightweight. Which sounded good. In theory.
The reality was that when I eventually emptied my container to add new soil I had packing peanuts EVERYWHERE. A couple years later I was still picking them out of the compost bin.
Putting the peanuts in a bag at the bottom of a container would have at least kept them from spreading around or I could have been more careful when replacing the soil, but at the end of the day they were still styrofoam. Not organic. And I hated that.
After that I started filling the bottoms of big containers with straw, tree prunings and even pieces of firewood. Problem solved.
Turns out others have also been doing the same thing for years but calling it hugelkultur.
Whatever you call it this is what it looks like in my new stock trough garden.
As you can see I used old trimmings, new trimmings, straw and even some oats. It is kind of like making a layer cake. As long as everything is organic it is going to be good.
I fill the troughs about two thirds full of organic stuff, counting on the heavier soil to squish everything down, leaving a foot of organic matter and another foot of growing soil on top.
After that, nothing left to do but sow some seeds!
Though in my case, that won’t happen until spring giving the troughs all winter to settle in.