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Growing local

After doing 2 lasagne beds (lucernce, compost, chook poo, sugar cane mulch layers), and reading a bit on BLF, I decided to try a Hugelkultur one for my 3rd bed. This was actual really just a process of consolidating my broken branches and sticks pile with my old grass clippings, ends of old flower pots and pulled-out weeds pile.

I started with layering down some cardboard to minimise weeds (probably don't need this in traditional Hugelkultur but figured can't hurt.

Then I piled the branches and twigs (don't have logs, should just been it will decompose quicker?)

Heaped with grass clippings, compost and chook poo

Covered with sugar cane mulch. Voila, woman-made turkey mound... let's see how it goes. I guess it's really more of a heaped compost heap though theoretically not turning it? 

Does this even count as hugelkultur?

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Comment by Sophie on May 13, 2016 at 13:06
Hi Lissa, at the moment it's just got trad growing over it and am thinking of putting pigeon pea shortly. Eventually thing fruit tree orchard but trying to build up the biomass. Just got back from my trip and am delighted to find (so far) no casualties! In fact it is looking very lush - big happy sunflowers have bloomed, a lovely welcome home!
Comment by Lissa on May 12, 2016 at 4:55

I did this in an old pond when I was trying to fill it. Filled it with anything I could lay my hands on - old compost stuff, branches, bags of poo or soil, and like Andy some fresh cuttings. Brunfelsia to be exact. Rotten stuff sprouted all over the place but I kept cutting it back and eventually won. 

I planted bananas in there and they did well for some years until dying off for some unknown reason. Have another variety of narnie growing in there now quite happily.

What did you eventually plant on your mound Sophie and is it doing well?

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 11, 2016 at 21:08

If it looks hugel and smells hugel, it is hugel. Nice job.  I made the mistake of using fresh cuttings for one.  It's like planting a million cuttings all at once.  Even if only 1% started to grow, I was in trouble.   You won't have that problem. 

Comment by Sophie on May 11, 2016 at 18:38
Exciting! Keep us posted!
Comment by Dave Riley on May 11, 2016 at 9:54

I've just removed an old pond and was left with a hole in the ground so inspired by your work, I filled it with cardboard, paper and branches up to and above the rim.

Then covered it with soil I mined from the chook pen. Shoved a irrigator clay pot in the middle (my signature move), carpeted it with grass clippings..and voila!

Planted a purple sweet potato slip.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 11, 2016 at 10:15

Snakes are ever-present especially in warm weather. Just don't put your hand down any holes! 

Comment by Sophie on March 11, 2016 at 10:11
Last night I doubled the heap length ways! Should I concerned about snakes?
Comment by Sophie on March 9, 2016 at 20:55
Dave, thanks - Ive been looking through BLF and did find keyhole examples. I am blessed w enough space that I can probably try one of each!

Elaine, you would be pleased to know that I am thinking of turning my sleeper raised beds into wicking beds in the near future, I think you have converted me!

Dianne, well done on no more clay! Gosh would have taken some work. Something to look forward to!

Rob, ta, have posted on your other page re rock dust etc. From memory the majority of the branches were from strawberry guava trees. I say that because we only have 3 establised exisiting trees, two SG and the other an evil poinciana that leaves muck everywhere - btw Ive always suspected they are bad for the soil, would love to know... I still have enough branches and clippings to make a second mound so might think that over tonight and see how I go tomorrow :)
Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 9, 2016 at 18:56

What a fabulous idea, the start of your Hugelkultur bed looks great. Our Vegi Garden started out very much like this and I am very pleased with the outcome. Only to have more land to work on, but I guess I shouldn't complain, I have been adding to my gardens for over 30 years and our original clay base can't be found in any of our gardens now.

It must be great to be starting a fresh and seeing things happening. There are so many alternative ways to make beds now and we do what works well for each of us. Have fun Sophie I am sure it will be a success.

Comment by Rob Collings on March 9, 2016 at 17:36

That'l work, buffer the plants with a bit of growing medium, if surrounds are still raw/maturing.

I love the bale garden idea, and have an order for 20 sugarcane mulch bales from Mark Braz, some to be used just for that purpose.

The 2 links at the bottom of post show results from my first Hugelkultur pit. I normally could not easily dig down 1 Metre, at my place, but this is a pit inside a pile of 20 cubic meters decomposed granite + small amount of clay (free fill delivered 5 years ago). 

The ingredients in your pile are almost identical to whats in the bottom of my pit. The logs, had a diameter of 10cm, plenty of sticks, old straw and leaf litter. 

I could be wrong here, but in a deep pit at least (where there is no access for air), it's best to keep the nitrogen (animal manure) low.

Having said that, I laid horse manure over the top of the ingredients above & left for 6 months. I re-worked the section just before planting, leaving the Hugelkultur ingredients at the base but diluting the horse manure/compost with crusher dust, sand and deco, added a sprinkle of volcanic rock dust and a small amount of EM inoculated soil.

The results were amazing. I watered the plants with nitrate fish tank water every 2nd to 3rd day (a very, very dilute charlie carp mix would be the equivalent)

Rockmelons 

Squash

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