Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Garden expansion through Hugelkultur (part 1)

For over a month now I have collected logs, limbs, and leaves from the woods. I am slow to haul logs through the woods to my house because some weigh as much as 100 pounds. I usually roll the large pieces of log, and carry the logs that weigh less than 50 pounds. Some of the logs that weigh between 50-100 pounds are the ones I drag with a rope. Most of the wood and other tree matter is easy to collect because it's not far from my house, but that means carrying heavy logs for several hundred yards.

James has busted up some of the large pieces of tree. Larger pieces cover the bottom of the Hugelkultur mound, then limbs/branches/twigs are placed in the middle, then leaves are spread over top of the mound. The leaves will trap heat while the logs and sticks retain moisture. Over time the leaves decay over the rotting logs and become rich dirt like the ground floor of a forest. I find this method to be the most rewarding, beneficial, and efficient way to grow food.

Our experiment has been placing logs/leaves in the walkways of our Summer's Tomato garden. Considering we had 10 double rows of Tomatoes, we have made 12 Hugelkultur beds within our garden.
Attached to our Summer's Tomato garden was at least 5 rows of Pepper plants, which we have mulched with pine needles and leaves; but I doubt we turn this portion of the garden into a Hugel bed because it will be too close to the Cob home we're building within the Garden. I posted a video of the Hugelkultur mounds along with the Cob home trench in the video below. The video was from a couple of days ago when I had not added three additional rows of Logs, but you can see the photos afterwards of the progress so far. I will have an updated video soon so that you can get the "full experience" of the Hugel garden.

As mentioned, there are 10+ rows of logs and tree matter. In the photo below are the first Four rows which contain long thin logs.

The photo below shows you the following Four rows covered in leaves. These four rows are the Middle rows, which are nearly completed, while the other rows contain only large chunks of logs.

In the next two photo are three rows with large pieces of logs.

 The photo below shows you the last couple of rows.

Yesterday I collected the three logs you see in the photo below. Essentially, I rolled each of them from the woods to my house. The biggest chunk was nearly 100 pounds and the other two were 60-70 pounds. James then busted the logs into smaller pieces, which will allow them to decompose much faster.

It's difficult to show you the entire garden in one frame, which is why I highly recommend watching my videos that I post on Youtube.  The goal here is to transform the 13 rows into 13 Hugelkultur mounds. Once we limbs/branches/twigs/leaves over the logs, we will then add mulch/dirt/compost and other material which will help quickly break down tree matter into soil.

One other Hugel bed I am working on is seen in the next two pictures. The bed is approximately 3 ft wide, 3 ft tall, and 15 ft long. Weeks ago I began placing long, thin logs at the bottom of the bed, then sticks, twigs, then leaves. After several layers of leaves, I added Natural black mulch on top.

Mulch to go on top of the Hugel bed


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