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brand new hugelkultur bed

 
Jessie Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada. Zone 5
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Hello, Any ideas on mulch for our brand new hugelkultur beds ? There is no straw available in our area right now. We are in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, zone 5 & although it's July 9th I'm still hoping to direct sow, as the last frost date was June 27th. It's been hot this last week, over 90 F. What kind of mulch with protect the soil from erosion from heavy rain & also keep the seeds moist ? We have some leaf litter from our forest, but not enough. I was wondering about burlap & peat moss. A friend said clear plastic would keep the seeds moist till they sprout, but I wonder if it would get too hot for the seeds. Any ideas ?
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John Elliott
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Do you have a bagging lawn mower?

Almost anything that you can run over with the lawn mower, including branches up to 1/2" in diameter, will get shredded to a consistency good enough to use as mulch. Leaves, leaf litter, pine cones, twigs, grass will all be good mulch with only one caution: if what comes out of the bag is green, you want to let it dry in the sun for a few days so it doesn't become a stinky black anaerobic mess when it rots.
 
Jessie Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada. Zone 5
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Also, wondering if we need a swale ditch along the hugel bed ?
The bed starts at the bottom of a hill & lays along the contour of the slope of the land. If we put in a swale ditch, it would be on the upper side, correct ? We have a lot of water, but the month of Aug is always dry
Thanks so much for any info
Jessie
 
Jessie Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada. Zone 5
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Sorry, no lawn mower...... cabin in the woods. Our land is all forest with a year round stream. We cleared about an acre so we could grow food. Lots of standing dead birch & spruce to build hugel beds
 
John Elliott
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Spruce needles then? That would keep the raindrops from eroding the bare soil.

I wouldn't think the swale would be necessary. What you might do instead is to put some brush and leaf litter there to slow down any flow along the length of the hugel.
 
Jessie Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada. Zone 5
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Great ideas, Thanks John


 
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