Your raised beds look great. I'm sure your Mother will be happy with their performance. And kudos to you for helping her find a way to continue her garden in comfort!
I have hugelkultures that I built on grade (no digg) and they are performing VERY well. We've had record rainfall in my area of Michigan (more than 12 inches in April alone) and they've helped keep my high water table in check.
My project is not quite one year old. It is planted with strawberries as a ground cover, garlic, thyme, oregano, lavender and other yummy stuff. I'm testing out how well melons and pumpkins will fair in the culture without additional water inputs. Happily, I haven't had to drag a hose out all year... even when temps went into an unseasonal 90+ degrees for a few days. With my current weather patterns, I'm happy to report a truly living soil... mushrooms started popping-up and that sure puts a smile on my face.
i also am in Michigan with the record rain and high water table and am satisfied with my hugel beds also built nearly on grade..
I plan to put in another area of hugel beds sometimes this summer, about 4' by about 24' area mostly just burying any leftover branches and dead trees I can come up with on the property and filling it in with soil excavated from our pond dig that has been piled for a year..and only raising the sides up about 6" with lumber I had left from my deck build.
not sure what these beds will be planted with or when, but I believe they will mostly be for mixed annual vegetables or melon/squash plants and I have huge perennial/orchard gardens already
Bloom where you are planted.
Here's my first project I just finished. I'm 6'2 so I hate bending over. Kind of a rich-man's Hugelkultur Raised Bed in the big city. I had to spend the extra dough to make it pretty to keep the mrs. happy and for resell value when we escape the city.
The bed measures 5 x 20 and I did not have enough fill from my yard, so I had to build up 6-8 inches over my logs using commercial stuff that was available.
Luckily my brother owns a mulch company and has plenty of aged hard wood logs for the foundation.
Just a semi-OT comment. My adult son told about how, when he was a kid, they built jumps for bmx bike riding. They didn't have enough fill dirt for the 'hills' they were making, so they piled up any wood, branches, etc. they could find, and put he soil on top. He recalled that in following years, the surround flat area had little growth (poor dry soil), but the jumps always had healthy greenery growing on them Hugelkultur... who knew!!
It's time to get positive about negative thinking -Art Donnelly
After some pecan pie, you might want to cleanse your palatte with this tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while