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Arizona Cypress Are the tannins in the wood a problem for Hugel culture?  RSS feed

 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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I am in the initial stages of planning my first backyard nursery/vegie farm, and want to include hugel culture. I am in Southern Cali high desert, so want to use as little water as possible. Last year, I put in a traditional vegie garden, watered everyday in the early morning hours, and everything did fine. But, after reading about Hugel culture, I would really like to test this idea out, take lots of pics of my baseline (traditional method) garden, and my Hugel culture garden.
I am cutting out a lot of dead and green branches from some Arizona Cypress, so have a lot of it that I could use to try in my first Hugel culture project. Will the tannins in this wood make it a bad wood for Hugel culture? I was told this subject has come up many times, but have not been able to find it, even after staying up reading till 3am this morning.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
 
William James
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I learned about Pine not being good, and a cypress is very close.

I learned about it the night before I was planning to load up the hugelculture with it.

So I decided to leave out to big logs and concentrate on the smaller branches.

This topic interests me, seeing that I have some more Arizona Cypress cuttings coming in the spring.

William
 
DeeAnn Downing
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Hi Blair,
I can't speak directly to that, but it probably depends on what you want to grow. It may make a more comfy soil culture to plants that prefer more acidic soil than our western soils offer.

dee in utah

Blair Jones wrote:I am in the initial stages of planning my first backyard nursery/vegie farm, and want to include hugel culture. I am in Southern Cali high desert, so want to use as little water as possible. Last year, I put in a traditional vegie garden, watered everyday in the early morning hours, and everything did fine. But, after reading about Hugel culture, I would really like to test this idea out, take lots of pics of my baseline (traditional method) garden, and my Hugel culture garden.
I am cutting out a lot of dead and green branches from some Arizona Cypress, so have a lot of it that I could use to try in my first Hugel culture project. Will the tannins in this wood make it a bad wood for Hugel culture? I was told this subject has come up many times, but have not been able to find it, even after staying up reading till 3am this morning.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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William,
Thanks for responding. Let me be sure I understand you correctly. You did put the smaller branches of pine into your trench or hill for the hugel culture? Did you put some other wood at the bottom of your hill? What did you plant there when it was completed?

And how did that turn out?

 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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DeeAnn Downing wrote:Hi Blair,
I can't speak directly to that, but it probably depends on what you want to grow. It may make a more comfy soil culture to plants that prefer more acidic soil than our western soils offer.

dee in utah

So, it might work for say, blueberries?

Blair
 
William James
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Blair Jones wrote:William,
Thanks for responding. Let me be sure I understand you correctly. You did put the smaller branches of pine into your trench or hill for the hugel culture? Did you put some other wood at the bottom of your hill? What did you plant there when it was completed?

And how did that turn out?



Here's the pic of it when I set it up:
http://www.permies.com/t/9373/permaculture/Raised-Bed-Hugelkultur-vs-Natural

It has a straw-bale ring.

I double dug pretty deep (20cm-ish) and set the small cypress branches at the bottom. I put a little other wood (pomegranate) in there (even smaller branches). Then a bunch of half-composted kitchen scraps, cypress leaves, and random green garden cuttings. Then (to address the problem of nitrogen-deficiency) I dumped about a half-garbage can full of manure on top.

I planted some stuff, but it died (manure too strong). Then some weeds from the manure sprung up (wrong kind of manure-cow-bad stuff) and so I chopped that down and put it in the compost pile. I then planted daikon, and it seems to be holding strong.

Few of my problems so far are due to the cypress wood that's in there. We'll see how things go this spring. Should get a PH reading on that, but I'm lazy and things grow well enough. Plan to move it slightly with a fork and plant lettuce, basil, and some few daikons to get some OM in there.

The over-winter daikons in all 4 beds are doing well. I followed more or less the same recipe with all of them. I broke my own no-till rule because I needed to get in there and see if there was cement or other crap that was inhibiting growth. Found some cement and other junk.
W
 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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William James wrote:
Blair Jones wrote:William,
Thanks for responding. Let me be sure I understand you correctly. You did put the smaller branches of pine into your trench or hill for the hugel culture? Did you put some other wood at the bottom of your hill? What did you plant there when it was completed?

And how did that turn out?



Here's the pic of it when I set it up:
http://www.permies.com/t/9373/permaculture/Raised-Bed-Hugelkultur-vs-Natural

It has a straw-bale ring.

I double dug pretty deep (20cm-ish) and set the small cypress branches at the bottom. I put a little other wood (pomegranate) in there (even smaller branches). Then a bunch of half-composted kitchen scraps, cypress leaves, and random green garden cuttings. Then (to address the problem of nitrogen-deficiency) I dumped about a half-garbage can full of manure on top.

I planted some stuff, but it died (manure too strong). Then some weeds from the manure sprung up (wrong kind of manure-cow-bad stuff) and so I chopped that down and put it in the compost pile. I then planted daikon, and it seems to be holding strong.

Few of my problems so far are due to the cypress wood that's in there. We'll see how things go this spring. Should get a PH reading on that, but I'm lazy and things grow well enough. Plan to move it slightly with a fork and plant lettuce, basil, and some few daikons to get some OM in there.

The over-winter daikons in all 4 beds are doing well. I followed more or less the same recipe with all of them. I broke my own no-till rule because I needed to get in there and see if there was cement or other crap that was inhibiting growth. Found some cement and other junk.
W


It looks great, and I am encouraged by your success. I think I will mix it up, since I have the Cypress to get rid of, I'll put some small pieces at the bottom, and put some other wood above that. I simply don't want to have to dig it up again to pull it out. I think I will try that where I want to have blueberries, just in case it causes the soil to be more acidic. They would probably love that.
 
Marianne West
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Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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check out the good wood/bad wood thread. More info there.
 
DeeAnn Downing
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Blair Jones wrote:
DeeAnn Downing wrote:Hi Blair,
I can't speak directly to that, but it probably depends on what you want to grow. It may make a more comfy soil culture to plants that prefer more acidic soil than our western soils offer.

dee in utah

So, it might work for say, blueberries?

Blair


Blueberries are a possibility for acidity. What is it in the cypress logs that you think will inhibit growth of other plants? Does the bark have allelopathic properties? Actually, what grows around the trees in its native setting? I am unfamiliar with this tree but will look into it.
 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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I understand the tree bark has tannin in it. Where they are growing, they are stand alone for a windbreak, so that won't be an indicator here.
 
DeeAnn Downing
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I meant in their native setting. That will give you a great deal of information. Is the ground completely barren around your windbreak?


Blair Jones wrote:I understand the tree bark has tannin in it. Where they are growing, they are stand alone for a windbreak, so that won't be an indicator here.
 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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I just checked, and the Arizona Cypress in NOT toxic to nearby plants.
 
Blair Jones
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Location: Southern Cal, high desert, Zone 8/9
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Yes, the ground around them is completely barren, and the previous owner says that when there was pasture maintained up to them, there were circles under them where the pasture did not grow.
 
DeeAnn Downing
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Monocultures are pretty rare in nature--more common, i think in first succession growth, after disturbance. Comments anyone?

Blair Jones wrote:I just checked, and the Arizona Cypress in NOT toxic to nearby plants.
 
DeeAnn Downing
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You see that in a lot of mature conifers. Pretty tough for pasture grass to grow under conifers. Doesn't mean other things won't. That is why I was asking about what the native arizona cypress "guilds" are.


Blair Jones wrote:Yes, the ground around them is completely barren, and the previous owner says that when there was pasture maintained up to them, there were circles under them where the pasture did not grow.
 
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