Our garden is coming along.
We sheet mulched around 2 months ago with cardboard and free woodchips (contact local tree services, they will be happy to dump a truckload in your lawn).
When I transplant, I dig a hole in the deep woodchips, fill it with 3:1 topsoil:compost, insert the plant, and cover with woodchips as mulch.
For more information on this method, study no-dig gardening, Back to Eden gardening, permaculture, hugelkultur, and food forests.
I’m in Zone 8a/7b. The sheet mulch doesn’t look great right now, but it will break down with time and protects the soil as we feed and build it up!
This bed was made with hardwoods and is at the intermediate stage
Ce vieux tas de bois se décompose là depuis 6 ou 7 ans (voir plus). Je vais tenter une version improvisée de hugelkultur (butte sur tas de bois). Sans butter, du coup. La question est de savoir si le tas gardera aussi bien l'eau que si il était recouvert de terre.
We started filling the new beds with corn stalks 🌾, next will be top soil and compost 😃
Young child sad that garden bed is Forbidden
Forbidden until the plants are more established and bigger:
Hugelkultur is German for “hill culture.” Hügelkultur entails growing crops on a raised, earthen mound that consists of a foundation of fresh or rotting logs and branches covered in layers of manure, compostable materials and soil.
Spent my weekend transforming the neglected middenpile and grape trellis into a hugelkultur garden bed.
Circular Garden, by J3
I spent the day digging. And digging. And sweating in the rain.
Sometimes when gardening, you hear about these great things. You put them into practice and then find they are a head ache, a heart ache and a nuisance. Such was today.
When we moved into this place I tried instilling some of the same garden practices that I had in the mountains. There was more than enough room to carve out a niche garden out in the woods. BUT In an urban setting, the same practices had disastrous results. Not in a Titanic sense; no one died but believing the touted ‘greatness’ was the first step in that ‘sinking ship’ … ladies and gentlemen, may I present the hugel mound. Before you draw your ire at me, let me say good for you if it worked in your setting.
In my urban setting we had a huge fir that the neighbor offered to take down (disregard he had ulterior motive) and so it came down. With that much wood, we got rid of what we could to people needing/wanting firewood but still needing disposal of the other brush, it was cost prohibitive and what to do? Hugels seem to be the logical solution. Little did I know (being new to the neighborhood) that there were problems just lurking on the other side of the fence and beyond.
Hugel mounds are the perfect nesting grounds for urban rats. The neighbors never shut their rubbish bins (if they can get it in the bin) or leave it bagged in the gutter. The maze of fence rows become super highways for rodents. Congrats! You have just created a wonderful habitat for vermin. Look at it as a B&B. And rats aren’t just content with eating garbage scraps but also your vegetables and fruits. Rats also don’t care where they defecate: grow box, fence, pathways. Or what they chew on. Or where they die. Needless to say, in less than one season, I obliterated the mounds.
Today I was digging in an effort to move the little sickly Asian pear tree and dealing with the underground portion of the hugel. I have very sandy soil so much of it had not rotted away, not to mention the root system of the big fir that was cut down years ago. Hugels are great in the right place and time but what works for another, may be more work, more head ache and a heart ache for you. It is a wild world out there gardening. Knowledge is power. Learn from your mistakes and if you are more fortunate, learn first from another’s mistakes.