So, I've got my hugel bed, it's not big and not very tall (but I rent and this is the best I can do).
I scavenged heaps of rotting wood from the property, mostly maple. Then I cut down some branches that were blocking the sunlight. (We are North facing and ringed with trees, the south sun is completely blocked by massive cedar trees... but I digress.) I heaped the wood and branches and old grass clippings and leaves then I dumped a bunch of kitchen compost on it and dumped more mulch. Now I have three huge bags of horse manure, do I just dump it on top?
What do you do with the manure? My intention is to dump more kitchen scraps and then dump the manure on top of that, then dump a whole bunch more of the old mulch (it looks like it's almost soil) on that AND THEN cover it with black plastic to "cook" it. I reckon it'll break down a bit before spring when I can add some soil and then the seeds. Right?...
You shouldn't have to cover it with plastic it should just cook naturally. Just a big ol compost pile. How long has the pile been going? Do you notice any heat or breakdown of ingredients yet?
I have used truck loads of manure over the years, sometimes it can be a bit weedy but in permaculture weeds are OK, just chop and drop them for more mulch.
What kind of soil are you adding?
You might be able to plant right into the pile?
How about a picture !
I've had it going since January. Soil is something I have to research more. I'll try to get a picture up in the next couple days (I'm having some computer problems).
It's hard to describe it because I don't know all the terms of what I'm describing, what I call mulch might actually be peat, I'm not sure. I've been having a hell of a time trying to clarify all this stuff, I'm so new at gardening. I'm really enjoying it though I'll get a picture up as soon as I can.
Although you don't need to cover it with a black tarp to "cook" it, the advantage of using a tarp (any colour) is that it'll reduce leaching of nutrients due to rain. Being on the west coast I'm sure you have just a wee bit of rain falling over the next couple months...
Location: Vancouver Island, Zone??
posted 6 years ago
Jacques Fortin wrote:Although you don't need to cover it with a black tarp to "cook" it, the advantage of using a tarp (any colour) is that it'll reduce leaching of nutrients due to rain. Being on the west coast I'm sure you have just a wee bit of rain falling over the next couple months...
As a matter of fact it's raining right now, again... always, never ending rain, and mold and mud and moss.
Anyhoo, my instinct says to cover it until the weather warms up, I don't really know what it'll do. I'm glad to know the nutrients wont leach away, it'll also keep the raccoon colony in the cedar tree in the front yard out of it. But also I thought it might accelerate the break down because I just started it in January, it seems the bed just wont warm up. The other problem is the way this yard is situated, due north and ringed in tall trees, the yard gets very little light. Great tall cedars and douglas fir and then a bit lower maples, so we've got lots of canopy, and black berry bushes and fern. Oh and moss, moss on the rocks, moss on the shed, more moss then grass. Too bad you can't made things out of moss....
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit