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seeking input on hugel raised bed

 
Ashe Higgs
Posts: 11
Location: Phoenix, Az
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i built this bed recently. it's about a foot deep, which I then piled with organic matter (mostly palm) as I replaced the soil and mixed with some compost and vermiculite to improve drainage, and moisture retention. (the soil here is almost pure clay and needs a lot of improvement).

at any rate the photo shows my bed this morning, which hasn't been irrigated since Thursday. There's obviously a lot of moisture coming off the bed, but I can't tell if that means I did something right, or if it just means the surrounding clay is just wicking all the moisture out of my raised bed...

 
Michael Jacobsen
Posts: 13
Location: West Virginia, USA
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Depending upon the state of the wood (fresh cut/punky, small pieces/large logs) it can take some time for the "sponge" action to happen in a hugelbed. Another factor is the local fungi in your soils. Clayey soil is typically pretty resistant to fungi so you may have to import some soil from a nearby wooded area to spread on your patch. That or purchase specific fungi from a grower. (Look for something that will work well with your local flora/fauna. This is why it's generally better to source fungi from a nearby forest that you find mycelium present in. A shovel full or two of forest floor soil makes a great innoculant. Just don't ever eat the mushrooms if you don't know what they are.)

What you are seeing in the picture is most likely drainage. You've essentially made a small, above ground pool at the moment and until the wood really gets going breaking down it won't hold on to much. Ditto for if it's punky as it can take some time for even punky wood to start soaking up the water. That said, for not being irrigated since Thursday last, it seems to be holding water well.

What zone are you in? What's the weather been like there?
 
Ashe Higgs
Posts: 11
Location: Phoenix, Az
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I'm pretty sure Phoenix is 9B. It's been 70's and dry, getting cool at night.
 
maje culture
Posts: 9
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Hi,

I am new in this forum, and also new in trying to build my "forest" at home, so just reading "everything about everything" to get enough knowledge and start at some point (well, I have done it already, I am just trying to make it survive, ). So my question is, what do exactly do the fungi in the bed? why are they so important?

Thank you very much and congratulations for this great forum!
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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Ashe, have faith. As things break down and plants grow, conditions tend to improve.


Maje, as far as fungi go a better question would be "What don't they do?".

Some fungi can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, many help break down and recycle organic matter. Some have symbiotic relationships with specific types of plants and assist them with nutrient uptake. Oak trees can graft thier root tips together to communicate and, with the assistance of mycillium networks, transfer nutirents or moisture from a tree with plenty to one in need.

Some fungi even form cells similar to our own neurons that can process information on a network much larger than our own brain. Whoah, how's that for profound.

The subject is far too vast to think we can control or even really understand it, but if we work towards healthy soil, the rest falls into place naturally. The fungi will be there doing things we don't even realize.
 
maje culture
Posts: 9
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Amazing!! Sorry to insist on this, but I found some kind of "mushrooms" in one of my pots, and also in one of my beds, the last summer and I thought that was the end of the world (not that bad really, :0)), but now I understand I should be happy with those little things living with us? or is there any dangerous one that it should be removed?

 
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