With all the talk around here about hugelkultur lately and reading all the posts on the subject, I am really getting excited for spring to plant stuff in the hugelkultur beds I started last year! I rarely do the same thing the same way twice, and have all kinds of different modifications to the basic hugelkultur to experiment with this spring. I am the laziest gardener I know, and if there is some way to let mother nature do the work for me, I am going to let her. I wanted to share one thing I discovered that I think may be of use to some folks:
This may be a great way to use an old stump! I piled grass clippings on top of and about 18 inches all around a stump thinking I would let the grass clippings rot for a while and attract worms etc, then plant something there to conceal the stump. I sort of forgot about it, and when I checked on it last fall the stump was nearly half decomposed and all the dirt around it was dark brown and full of worms. (I am guessing that the high nitrogen grass clippings combined with the carbon in the wood really kick-started the decomposition process.) Although I haven't planted anything there yet, this idea makes a lot of sense to me because that old oak tree stump still has huge decaying roots going way down into the soil (hugelkultur already in place!!!) and the tree's roots had been bringing up nutrients for decades. Forget the stump grinder! One more good idea for the lazy gardener!
What other variations to the basic hugelkultur concept have you all discovered? Which have worked best? Which have been the least work?
I think this will qualify as an innovative idea...
I've been raking leaves for the past couple of weeks. Scattered all about are branches. sticks and twigs. The small stuff goes along with the leaves, but the bigger material I tossed into a pile, with the intention of putting together another hugel bed. It's a lot of work digging up all that soil, and between you and me, I'm getting kinda lazy. I've driven in stakes for plant support, to find after harvest that these stakes have been well worked on. A couple of uses, the stakes are rotted to the point they can not be used again. The soil here decays wood at a tremendous pace. I was thinking there has to be a better way than dig a pit, fill it with wood, then repeat the process after a few short years when the wood is gone.
It occurred to me that I can drive in some of these sticks straight in as one would a stake. Just pound it in. The soil here is sand and will accept a stake readily. No digging. I can add more wood to the bed as needed. I can add wood to a bed at a slow pace such that N is not consumed en masse. I can add wood to a bed while plants are growing so as not to take that space out of production in order to dig it up. Add a little at a time or add a lot at a time, whatever suits my whim. I have pounded in a flat ended 2" x2" piece of board to act as a gate stop, left it sticking up out of the ground. Only took a minute. Smaller material will pound in easily. For larger material, I suspect cutting a point would help drive it into the ground. There is always the post hole digger or that trusty spade. I gave up on tilling, so any wood in the beds is moot.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
Location: Washburn, Missouri
posted 8 years ago
Great ideas Ken. I could get a much steeper slope to my hugel beds by pounding some stakes in at the edges. By the time the stakes rotted, the wood in the pile would have sorta congealed together. Hopefully holding itself together by that point.
And Devon, thanks for your vote of awesomeness. I'll take it. Hope it works for you.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association