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learnings after first year-ish of actual vs. imagination homesteading

 
pollinator
Posts: 1895
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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I'll hopefully organize a top ten list at some point, but I wanted to get something out there for starters.

--Dog DESTROYS Hugelkultur in Senate Debate:

Actually it wasn't in the senate, it was in the nearby part of the yard to our country front door (country front door = backdoor, the one you always use, primarily in our case because it has a mudroom = airlock = cat-escape-prevention two doors).

I had tried to do bonfils wheat.  It didn't work.  Not because there's anything wrong with the bonfis method, but because my dog decided that he would like to do a reverse badge bit for the anti-permaculture site BigDestruction.com.  He tore up the entire hugelbed, the mulch seems to have disappeared entirely, this is not cute.  

The problem is the solution:
I don't have a really great solution yet except save yourself the time and effort of making the hugelbed in the place where the livestock guardian puppy is going to spend the majority of his time.  We had to tether him (legal and practical considerations), and it needed to be near where he could come in and out (this breed is supposed to come indoors a lot and bond with you, plus we want to be able to check on him easily, and in the first days he could come and go from the porch easily on his tether and get to his nighttime shelter.  All of this would have made putting the hugelbed outside the eventual fence line better, or just not bother this year.  Solution = not do it --> more time I get to be lazy or engage in Imagination Homesteading, OR solution = build it on the other side of the garage -- > a slightly farther walk to drop buckets of house wastewater on it but much less canine predation.  

(Also, the autopsy showed that, what with the drought and the sandy sandy soil, and the fact that the logs were just slightly-too-damp-for-firewood leftovers from it was such a dry hugelbed it didn't really start to rot down anyway.

--

don't irrigate hugelbeds from the top.
I had to irrigate because of the drought.  Year 1, if you don't have _soil_ (vs. dirt) on your hugelbed, you need to irrigate.  Well, irrigate I did, and it was a pain in the butt getting the hose all teh way over there or, later, a wheelbarrow of water, and about halfway through the season I saw how much erosion i was causing by trying to water from the top and read up on it more.  It seems you really want to irrigate at the bottom and let it wick up.  Now, if you have sandy soil it may not wick up very well, but a very small amount of water lightly sprinkled will be better than a larger amount poured or hosed onto the top.  

A frustration is that the water in the bottom of the hugelbed will mostly go down into the leachfield of our sandy, sandy soil did i mention our soil is sandy, and only a little will wick up.  Sand wicks faster than topsoil, though topsoil wicks _farther_/_higher_ than sand.  I don't yet know how to make use of this property, maybe there's something.  But the best thing to do is just be patient, maybe mulch around the hugelbed a lot farther out with anything available, in our case highway department wood chips were available for free and I'm 99% sure they don't spray anything.  (They trim branches off healthy trees that are trying to poke the power lines).

The problem is the solution:  I don't see any other than the value of a lesson learned.  Erosion is rarely useful.  I guess, better soil collecting in the trench at the bottom of the hugelbed, but that's a real mixed blessing.

--
seeds planted and STUNned--no result

I don't know, autoposy shows nothing. they seemed to just disappear without a trace.  10 chestnuts, in two different places.  Now, many would point the finger at rodents, but in their defense I must say that there is no evidence of any digging.  My working theory is aliens with some kind of teleportation technology.  I don't have evidence for my theory either, but if it's correct, they would have left no evidence....dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah

the problem is the solution: just don't bother.  unplant oaks instead.  (see my post about unplanting).  notice wild chestnuts already growing up the hill across the road in the undeveloped land/conservation-ish land (the signage is confusing)--they are American chestnuts and won't produce seed, but it's a great place for chestnuts.  Maybe my aliens replanted my seeds over there?

As I type this I realize I could have focused on making hugelbeds to provide water for the chestnut trees, rather than focusing on vegetables, but I didn't remember to do that at the time because I was just focused on "oh I have some wet-ish reject wood to use up from my neighbor's woodpile and I guess I'll just build a hugel here"

--

Please feel free to add some year-end learnings or observations here.  You don't have to have a definitive conclusion, the observation is probably more valuable than a premature conclusion anyway, and mine should be taken as tentative (except the aliens, I am sure of the aliens)
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:--Dog DESTROYS Hugelkultur  

seeds planted and STUNned--no result

Please feel free to add some year-end learnings or observations here.  



Maybe you had no results from the seeds because when the dogs destroy the hugelkulture the seeds got planted too deep.

Maybe the seeds were planted at the wrong time of year or the seeds didn't make good soil contact so the seeds did not germinate.

Maybe the seeds did not get enough water to germinate?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1895
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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Well, the seeds might still germinate, I suppose, but the hugelkultur bed is destroyed so I figure the experiment is kaput. But you raise a good point, maybe they'll miraculously pull through.  However, it wasn't what I planned.  

So, to be fully accurate, I haven't completed the experiment yet, year 2 is when the wheat plants are supposed to put out a bonanza of grains, and I have not quite gotten to year 2 yet.  However, their odds look pretty slim, given Dogmageddon.  

Anne Miller wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:--Dog DESTROYS Hugelkultur  

seeds planted and STUNned--no result

Please feel free to add some year-end learnings or observations here.  



Maybe you had no results from the seeds because when the dogs destroy the hugelkulture the seeds got planted too deep.

Maybe the seeds were planted at the wrong time of year or the seeds didn't make good soil contact so the seeds did not germinate.

Maybe the seeds did not get enough water to germinate?

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1895
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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I may have misundestood your reply, if you're talking about the chestnut seeds, those were at the far side of the land and the dog didn't do any destruction there.  His alibi is he was still being born in Mississippi at the time.  
 
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