hugelkultur

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So my boyfriend just bought a house and it came with this dinky little glasshouse.Over the past couple of days I have been scavenging all the organic matter I could from around the property to make some nice hugelkultur-themed raised beds that will hopefully be functional and productive.

1. Harvested old bricks to build the walls.

2. Raided the kindling box for pinecones and small sticks.

3. Layered all the cardboard we had in the house for unpacking.

4. More kindling.

5. Added compost from the pile that was in varying stages of decomposition. Did a bit of weeding and chucked those in.

6. Began dismantling an ugly old camellia that was blocking the drive and added those bits plus some soil I stole from an outside bed.

7. Pruned a kowhai (native leguminous tree) and piled on the trimmings. Added another layer of bricks with gaps.

8. Discovered a bin full of two years’ worth of fallen leaves. On they went. Planted strawberries in the gaps in the walls.

9. Found a deep litter of needles under the one massive pine tree. Covered this with a generous sprinkling of lime to balance the p.H. and add calcium.

10. Finished it off with a thick layer of more soil borrowed from the tired old outdoors raised beds. Planted it with a first crop of salad greens and broad beans to help improve and stabilise the soil in preparation for summer when I will be planting tomatoes, basil, capsicums, chillis and aubergines.
Dobby the kitten approves.

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Hugelkultur!

I built another Hugelkultur on the very top of the property I work on. I could have gathered more wood but meh it will do for now, this is really just to demonstrate the concept to the farmer I work for.

I can’t believe I did that all in a few hours - goes to show you that if you’re passionate about something it doesn’t matter how large a task is, your passion will see you through it.

Let me know what guys and gals think about it!!

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The new garden really exploded despite being thrown together from scratch and having so much of it planted late. I put in perennial flowers (bee balm, butterfly flower, blanket flower) near the hives and the pumpkin vines overtook a lot of it and I had to pull leaves to keep them accessible and the flowers in the sun.

Around the cedar tree in our little recreation area I put perennials also, including a new hydrangea, salvia, bee balm, and transplanted two rose bushes and done assorted annuals.

September, 2016.

youtube

“Hugelkultur Hoop Houses, Hugelbeds and Fukuoka Style Hugelkulturs Retain and Release Water and Nutrients for Plants. How to make them.”

When we’re setting heat records by the year, using less water smartly becomes priority. 

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New garden with some stuff starting to die back. Some of my bees are showing a unique pattern, I’m not sure which hive. A lot of emptied beds were covered with squash vines, which started pulling down the corn. Salvaged sod and perennials that started out in sad shape have made a great comeback. A lot of the plants around the big stone looked dead and had rotten stems that had to be cut back nearly to the soil line. The daisies in the fourth to the last photo were also thrown out from the greenhouse at work and were labeled as annuals. I figured they’d reseed and planted them anyways and they surprised my by combining back from dry stems and according to the internet they’re perennials.

September, 2016.

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Okay, I might be going a little nuts with this, but a friend wanted me to help him build a Hugelkultur and I couldn’t resist, I think I have an addiction to moving soil!

This one is neat because we integrated a herb-spiral into the top corner of the bed - it draining into a water feature.

I just love making these things so much and I am still trying to figure out how to model a business around them.

Are you familiar with Hugelkltur mounds? If not, you should be.  Now that the rains have started again instead of creating a mound and raising how high my hops will be growing I’m going to instead dig a trench and make a lowered Hugelkultur bed. 

It’s important to do this when the rains start so that the wood has adequate water exposure to break down before you planting season. Do not use wood chips, you want natural uneven decomposition. I like starting with big branches and moving to smaller ones near the top. Then I layer green matter, it could be grass clippings, leaves, or in this case I’m going to use sunflower stalks. Then I’m going to cover the trench with dirt.

Depending on how large your branches are you might not see any better production the first year and will probably have to supplement soil treatments however years 2-4 you will have some of the best soil. My pickles, tomatoes, peas, onions and corn all did amazing on my bed this year.

I’m really hoping to see these work wonders on my hops in the future and am super excited about implementing more of these throughout our yard.

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Everything melted back and I was able to update some garden notes I missed and tuck some blueberries back into the hugelkultur that popped up. The goats and sheep enjoyed some nice softened frozen/thawed pumpkins.

The guy who delivers hay to the store I work at also raises sheep and gave me this tidbit: feed them pumpkin in the winter. The carb load will trick parasites into thinking it’s spring and they’ll release eggs in the animal’s stool, but those will just freeze and reduce the cycle of reinfection.

December 1, 2016.

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What a difference a month makes…

Square keyhole hugelmounds built with woodchips and soil over my sheetmulched front lawn. Planted with lettuce, celery, dill, broad, dwarf and climbing beans, rainbow chard, nasturtiums, garlic chives and miscellaneous brassicas. The sticks are to keep my kittens from scratching it all up and doing their business, and my ground cover of chamomile, creeping thyme, corsican mint and white clover has been planted in the pathways.

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We worked in the garden too. All the goat poo we cleaned up went into the middle hugel bed that we finished today. It’s where the corn was. Now we have 3 set up. See the last picture? The clover is really taking off on that one. Can’t wait to fill up our beds with FOOD next year! We have so much more room now.

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Started work on a plot I’m going to take at the Sebastopol Laguna park community garden.

I did not know what I was getting into when I decided to claim the sunny bed near the water and compost piles. I thought there would be some effort to remove (and pot up) the oak trees. I was mistaken to think that this was the crux of preparing bed 7.

The previous gardener left me many buried treasures including several clay tiles, terra cotta pots, stumps and a manhole cover. I get that they were making a hugel bed and used the buried pots to assist with watering, but did they really need to chain the logs to a manhole cover?

After three hours the work was done. All logs and pots out of the bed, trees potted up.

It is now in need of more soil, compost, manure, and then planting.