Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hugelkultur Layers

Today (Friday the 19th) I finished all the layering in my first Hugelkultur planter bed
except for the last dirt layer.

See yesterdays post for a photo of the logs in the bed.

Yesterday while I was looking for pieces of fallen wood I also picked up small branches and added them to a pile to use today. I broke up the sticks before I threw them on the bed. I'm in hopes that smaller sticks will break down faster. I'm not sure the layers are in the correct order or if there is one.

(Before I started layering I tossed some dirt on the logs
and wet them down.)

First I put down a layer of leaves over the logs.

Second a layer of bedding from the chicken coop.

Third a layer of sticks.

Fourth I sprinkled a thin mix of dirt, bedding, and leaves over the sticks to hopefully help speed up the breaking down of the material into good soil.

Fifth I covered everything with about 4 inches of dirt.

In between each layering I wet the area down. 

I have read that you shouldn't expect a good harvest the first year using this method. But from what I have read that may depend on how much dirt is added, the quality of the dirt, and what crops are planted. Melons, potatoes, squash and berries are supposed to do well the first year. Some people let the bed lay fallow the first year or plant it with cover crops.

I want to plant veggies this year so my plan is to put down enough soil on the top so the plants have a good growing medium.

Tomorrow I'm going to dig up dirt at the bottom of years of piles of leaves I've raked and mix that dirt in with the dirt I dug out of the bed. 

I'm in hopes of having the hugelkultur at work below making and enriching the soil and still be able to grow some veggies in the bed in the dirt I'm adding to the top.

I can see how this method is a great way to improve poor soil just by using what is at hand. I would much rather get rid of the leaves and fallen wood this way than by burning.

This bed was a lot of work. To make it easy on myself (and to learn) I don't plan on doing the next beds exactly the same way. I'm going to experiment and make them each differently.

Sprout update: I took the lentils out of the water and put them between a damp dishtowel. I really don't think there is any hope for these lentil ever sprouting.

(March 19, 2009)

( 3 eggs today)



Toni aka irishlas said...

Too bad about your sprout experiment, but, that's how we learn. You gotta try.
Wishing you and all the critters Happy Spring!

JoyceAnn said...

Hi Callie ~ it looks great! My Dh and I were discussing the bed last night , he thinks I should go on with it the way I planned since the box is so deep. I've been picking up yard waste for the bed this week too , it's a great way to put all those broken limbs and leaves to good use. Thanks for the encouraging comment you left on my blog.
A school bus coop , talk about using what's on hand (LOL).

~ Spring Blessings ~

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

It looks like you are doing a great job and it does look like hard work. We are sure it will all be worth it when you get your first veggies...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Texan said...

your other post on this had me reading all I could find about this... I am very interested in using this method of improving garden beds!

Good job I say you have done!

I think its a great idea to do some different, as you say, experiment and see what works the best :O)