Hey guys! So I wanted to run an idea by you that I’m going to be trying. Slow hugel. Basically I don’t have the time, energy, resources to build a full hugel this year on the homestead kitchen garden. I would like to have one eventually... my dirt sucks, heavy clay, no love for a decade. Monoculture weeds!!! So here is my plan in motion to fix it.
Step 1: cardboard layer. I have access to a lot of free boxes and am eager to see it’s weed blocking properties.
Step 2: I am chopping and dropping the monoculture weeds on top of the card board. I hate the idea they may have seeds, but I am having trouble finding a good alternative waste stream for enough organic matter atm. This layer is about 2 inches thick, wet and green.
Step 3: winecap innoculation. I am lazy about it because my winecap homies are tough fuckers who never give me trouble. I just place a fist size chunk every couple feet. I immediately cover with a bit more mulch.
Step 4: I spread out a batch of fresh charcoal in a broken layer.
Step 5: wood chips and hay are the finalish layer. Only 2 inches thick since I’m low atm.
Each year I plan on repeating the above steps, plus leaf drop from the adjacent forest. In addition I am using a soil mix (1 part dirt, 1 part aged horse manure, 1 part charcoal) in each my planting holes for starts and seeds.
Now all my planting besides strawberries are annuals atm. I figure about 5-7 yrs of above methods and I should have a small charhugel bed.
Your process would indeed make... something. Something you could grow plants on eventually. But I don't know that you could call it a Hugel without chunks of wood involved. Logs are the key to holding moisture and long-term release of nutrients. I won't get hung up on the name though. I do think you will need a lot of watering, and your addition of 4 to 6 inches of stuff per year would not add up, because throughout the course of the year that material would break down and shrink back to about where you started (rather than adding up to any appreciable height over time.)
You mentioned an adjacent forest. Can you rob some nice deadfall wood from there for your first layer?
Yeah sorry. I forgot to meantion the odds and Ed’s twigs and rotten logs that occasionally get added to the beds. It’s not on a set timetable so it’s just when it happens. Also there is no way my 2 inches of charcoal is disappearing in a year, I normally also only lose an inch of chips per year.