That video was a quality find Jay. I really enjoyed it. The young maple could be in the way of the construction but it’s not too close to the mound. I’ve been making hugelkultur’s for a decade and the best place to plant tree in next to it but not in it. All of my tree guilds started with a hugelkultur. The trees were planted alongside while the annuals went on top and around the sides. I look forward to seeing your progress.
Clay’s ideas is phenomenal but beware of settling for the first two years. If you could somehow terrace from a solid surface (the ground) upward that would keep things in place. If the edges are simply on top of the soil they’ll sink and settle as well.
This is an outstanding idea. So good that I shared with folks on Instagram. I just wish there was an easy way to post stuff directly from here to there. At this point I’m just sending the link as a DM to people. I don’t normally do that so great job!
Good evening Richard.
Since my last post I’ve spoke with two farmers who have donkeys. Both said that the animals seem to sense that the toxic plants are bad. Neither of them has had issues with their animals.
Hello Richard. I’ve read several places that the leaves, twigs, roots and unripe fruit are toxic to livestock. I have also read that if there’s quality food and forage they will probably leave it alone.
However, I have no actual experience with this issue. Hopefully someone will. I have friends with donkeys and will be asking.
Love your work J! We all don’t have the perfect place and logs for a textbook hugelkultur. I like how you used what you had. I’ve seen videos of Paul teaching somewhere in California. They had zero logs but lots of sticks. Everything turned out just fine and I know yours will as well!
Thanks for reviving an old thread Richard!
There are several reasons not to use bamboo in in a hugelkultur; thanks for reminding us of a few.
I have access to bamboo on the neighboring farm. They want me to take all I can get! It took me a couple years to determine its best use. I harvest all I want in fall and leave it to dry overwinter. In spring they all become plant stakes and are no longer capable of putting down roots.
Once they’ve reached the end of that life they go on to become plant markers. I’ll get a whole season out of them! Whatever is left become part of my mulch.
Bamboo is antibacterial and is great for keeping fusarium in line as part of my annual beds. I don’t find it to be great mulch in a food forest due to its anti fungal properties however.
Here’s a pic of the ultimate biodegradable plant marker.
Hello all. I have a friend that has moved to an area with heavy bear traffic. As we were talking a few questions came up. Will bears normally mess with compost? Is there a style of compost pile or bin that’s better than others? Is there anything else she needs to know? Thanks!
Thanks T! The area he wants them is beside a pond. I think it’s too wet for them. I have successfully planted things around vertical hugelkultur’s before. I wouldn’t give it another thought if I were planting them here. I just don’t want his to die.
I’m designing a small farm and hops are a part of that. The soil is very wet and I’m thinking of planting the bines next to a vertical hugelkultur. I figured it would help the drainage issue and fertilization too. Does anyone have experience with such things?
Thanks so much Mark! Those great observations are exactly what I needed. I was really afraid it would spread aggressively and I would regret planting it.
I have 25 yarrow plants for the property I’m designing. I can do so now with confidence!
Hello friends. I am designing a new three acre farm for a friend. I have already started making elderberry, figs, blueberries and bush cherries for him. He also wants to raise bees. One of my first thoughts was the planting of yarrow in a tree guild situation. I knew it was a perennial insect attractor but I didn’t realize how easily it spread.
I have never grown yarrow so I’m here to learn. What should I know?
Thanks Kaarina! Things have really changed since I posted this. I was so frustrated but am no longer. My friends, and family we’re getting bumper crops while I’m struggling to grow literally everything. I now look forward to garden pest because that means my garden friends are not far behind.
Everyone raves about how good my produce is and asks my secrets. I tell them I do very little and no one believes me. 😂
I only do a couple things that require actual effort. I make enough compost to have seed starting media. I also bought a mower with a grass catcher. Everything gets mulched every time I mow. Mowed grass and leaves is the best thing I’ve ever done for my soil!
I buy nothing and bring in nothing from outside the farm. I feel like what grows here is everything that’s needed.
Hello Permies. I’ve started noticing what I believe to be oak wilt in the forest surrounding my home. The first tree snapped a few months after I noticed the damaged bark. This is the second. Now I'm on the hunt for more! I’d love to get a confirmation that this is indeed oak wilt and any suggestions that could help me deal with it.
Completely agreed Alia. It’s tough to be at home watching your friends and family go on without you. Since my untimely retirement I’ve become a great friend with my former boss. I cherish his friendship and will never treat him poorly. That goes for all new friendships I make as well. Having said that, it’s still tough to have lost so many friends just because I was no longer around. I’m still bitter but it’s been a good lesson in how not to treat people. I’ll make sure none of my friends ever have to feel the way I did.
This is a great idea for a thread!
For me, boot hooks are a life saver. I have the worst time bending at the waste or squatting. For this reason I gave up boots that tie. The ones I bought are great but getting them on was difficult. I’m lucky that my wife noticed and bought me some little helpers. I didn’t even know they were a thing.
Hello, and thanks for the replies.
I have used them for insect hotels Angela but not as much lately. I’ve found that the solitary bees here prefer the hollow stems of Polk weed. I usually let it grow to maturity because the deer really like the leaves. Go figure. Otherwise they eat all of my elderberry and blueberry plants; oh and comfrey!
I really like all the uses you’ve discovered Jay.
I don’t have any idea what variety this is but I did have a fresh stake take root one year. Luckily I was able to get it all before it spread.
My neighbor grows an edible form of bamboo. Once it grows beyond a few inches in height it’s no longer something you want to chew on!
That’s where I come in. Every fall I cut it all down and drag it home. I let it sit all winter so it doesn’t root when I use it for plant stakes. It’s really good for one season, sometimes two. Once it’s too broken for that use I cut it into smaller pieces and let it dry all winter again. At that point those pieces become the best plant labels I’ve ever tried. They barely fade during the growing season! I write on the inside and outside.
I also trim off the smaller side branches in fall and use them as seed protection for cover crops and greens. It actually works better than expected.
All of your comments have been very helpful and appreciated! I didn’t realize they had such a deep taproot.
The places that I picked to plant get a maximum of four hours of summer sun. That’s only for a month or so. Maybe if I transplant in early spring the low, indirect light won’t be too much.
Does anyone think I should still provide shade?
I’ve been on my property for nine years but only recently discovered lots of pawpaw trees. Turns out, they look an awful lot like immature hickories.
A couple months ago I marked several four foot tall trees for transplanting. My backyard is perfect and provides adequate sunlight. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for advice on how and when to transplant them. I get a mixed bag of answers so I wanted to find out what you fine folks think.
Should I transfer the plants in fall or spring? Are there any special considerations I should be aware of.
Before I knew they were all over the place here naturally I was given stratified seeds by a dear friend. I currently have twelve saplings growing upstairs. Here’s a couple pics.
Hi Jan. I love the idea about using them as water clogs! That’s probably where I’ll end up. I had a dirt cheap pair of rubber boots before I bought the “quality” pair. I gave them to a friend that’s still wearing them; go figure.
I John. I bought some high end glue that worked for a few days. The glue never failed but the pressure on the shoe goo caused it to crack. It’s been pretty dry here lately so I haven’t really needed them. It’s a project I will take up again though.
I’m still working on my leaky boots.
I applied a liberal amount of shoe goo inside the openings. After a few days of drying even more was added. The goo hasn’t been able to stop the seams from opening back up after a bit of walking. I’ve got nothing to lose and plan to continue tinkering with them.
Hello friends! I’m glad some folks replied to this thread I started years ago. I forgot it was here. 😂
This is my current permaculture tool. It’s a lawnmower blade that was heated, bent and mounted on a 2X2. I like the blade strength and most of the weight being on the businesses end. I love simplicity!
I don’t like the bends on the cutting edge of the blade. Someday I plan to reheat it and bang it out flatter. I’m not great at such things and I’m apprehensive of damaging the current edges. For now I keep it sharp with a grinder and file.
I’ve used a pull blade to round out the handle a bit too.
I use it to take down weeds and cover crops in small spaces. I’ve used the tip of the blade to pry up weeds as well. I then drop in a few seeds.
Hello all. I have a pair of waterproof boots in need of repair. The stitching between the upper and lower parts has failed. I can’t afford a new pair at the moment and would to fix these.
Does anyone have a recommendation?
That’s great advice from Anne. I’ve always used the root but left the flowers and leaves alone. Pollinators really show up for those flowers! The marshmallow I grow here in zone7b is way past bloom and the leaves are falling off. It looks like a great time to give it a try. I really hope it helps you feel better.
Hi there Anne! I believe we were posting at the same time. Great minds do think alike 😂.
The Bermudagrass here is so omnipresent that I don’t believe the a metal edge would work. It’s already everywhere.
Getting wood chips where I live is very difficult now that I don’t have a truck. I’ve come to rely solely on grass clippings and mowed leaves for mulch. Ruth Stout was right, just keep adding.During the summer I use the Bermudagrass clippings to stunt what is growing underneath. Since it’s already in all gardens I don’t worry about spreading it around.
I do keep a bottle of white vinegar on hand to knock it back. A small spray on a hot afternoon will stunt it pretty well.
This is all very interesting. Salt, who knew? Since I already have blueberries planted I will skip that suggestion in this bed. I have another I plan to try it out on though. It’s overrun with clumps of tall fescue (another weed) and horse nettle. I would take great pleasure in seeing their demise!
I very much appreciate these great comments!
That’s interesting Jordan, thank you. I’ve considered giving it the Ruth Stout treatment. Maybe I can keep under control long enough to get a harvest. I do wonder how the asparagus would handle things long term though.
Hello Permie friends! I am in the process of turning a small annual garden into a perennial one. The space is approximately twenty feet long and three foot wide. Six months ago I planted three blueberry bushes. Two on the sides, one in the middle. My plan is to plant asparagus between the bushes and maybe a few strawberries.
I have reservations due to super weedy Bermudagrass. It runs during hot weather making growing perennials difficult. I’m not so much worried about the blueberries though. It’s the asparagus and that causes my concern. I’m afraid the Bermudagrass will choke it out. I have strawberries growing other places and the grass really takes a toll on them.
At the moment there’s a few annual veggies in the garden. When the weather cools I plan to give the area a thick layer of cardboard covered by mulch. That won’t really effect next summer’s grass issues though.
Last year I figured out a way to grow great annuals even in problem areas. Once the annual is up I mulch around it with cardboard and grass clippings. About a month later I lay down a larger area of cardboard and more grass clippings. That takes the plant through its entire growth cycle while enriching the soil for next season. I’m just not sure what the best way is to handle a perennial which will be subjected to constant attacks.
The first two pictures are of the Bermudagrass itself. The third is one of my tomatoes with cardboard and grass clippings.
Hi Mike. Have you heard of pineapple sage? I didn’t know about it until last year. It may not be perfect for you because it dies to the ground in winter. During the summer it grows to about five foot tall and covered in flowers that hummingbirds really enjoy. It is a perennial in zone 7b.
The soil here is hard clay as well but it seems to be doing ok. My neighbor actually planted some in clay at the base of a rough stacked, rock retaining wall. It’s ran through the wall and helps hold it in place.
I’ve not seen anyone grow it in pots but it may be worth a try.
Hello Mike. My first thought is hardy kiwi. It grows quite robustly here in the zone 7b of North Carolina. It’s also evergreen. You’ll need a self pollinating plant or a male and female to produce fruit.
Jiaogulan is my second suggestion. It’s a natural sweetener with a ton of purported health benefits. I grew some for a season but a cold winter claimed it. It should be perennial where you live. Happy Gardening!