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Student Organic Farm

 
Kendra Nelson
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Ok so i talked everybody into doing a hugelkultur bed for our Student Organic Farm at the University of Nebraska, yay! The only thing is I'm the authority on this topic of the group and I've never done one, which i did tell them that up front. I've read Paul's article at richsoils.com and seen all the videos, listened to the podcasts that i can find so I got the basics, rotting cottonwood tree, cover with sod and then dirt and ta-dah hugelkultur bed right? Except what shape would be best, what direction should it run, do i put hay on top with sticks holding it on Sepp style? Or any other advice on this would be great. The good news is that since its with the University it can be experimental so its ok if we don't get it perfect, but I want to blow minds, and add to world domination and there're a lot of kids in the agriculture program here that are looking forward to being future wage slaves of Monsanto and i want them to see a success! So any help advice would be great.

Thanks all,
Kendra
 
Miles Flansburg
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OO we like experiments!

Do a sunscoop and test moisture levels, temperatures, etc. on the north VS the south sides.

Do small/short beds VS big/tall beds. Again measure everything.

Do a long bed with different types of wood in every 10 or twenty feet. That way you could compare, say, cottonwood to pine or spruce.

Do you have any access to lab equipment and students who love to collect data? Keep track of ph, nutrient levels, nitrogen etc., over time.

Keep us updated on how things are going!

Remember, hugels take time to stabilize. How many years will you be there? The info needs to be passed to next years students, so that the info is collected, so monsanto kids have data.
 
Kendra Nelson
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YAY! the University approved our proposal to put a hugelkultur in and will allow us to dig! We are able to find some cottonwoods to put in it but we also have a lot of pine too, so the idea was proposed to build a hugelkultur with pine and grow blueberries, and other acidic loving plants. Has anyone had any success with this kind of hugel, or is there other issues other than the acidity of pine in doing a hugel. It would be nice to see the pine not go to a burn pile so using it in this way would be nice, but I haven't read anything positive about the use of pine in hugelbeds.
 
Bryan Jasons
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I am not sure that pine needles are acidic, e.g. "The third test consisted of soil that is under a ten to twelve inch layer of six month old pine straw mulch located under three 50 year old pine trees that have continually bombarded the soil with slightly acidic pine needle s. The initial expectation prior to this third test was the soil would be highly acidic with a pH lower than the results in the first two tests. The actual test revealed a pH of 7.4, the same as the area with five to six inches of one year old decomposed straw."

http://www.pinestrawdirect.com/PineStrawMulchAcidity-SeparatingFactFromFictionThroughAnalyticalTesting.pdf

So maybe the pine wood is fine too, as far as the PH goes anyway.
 
Amos Burkey
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Kendra Nelson wrote:YAY! the University approved our proposal to put a hugelkultur in and will allow us to dig! We are able to find some cottonwoods to put in it but we also have a lot of pine too, so the idea was proposed to build a hugelkultur with pine and grow blueberries, and other acidic loving plants. Has anyone had any success with this kind of hugel, or is there other issues other than the acidity of pine in doing a hugel. It would be nice to see the pine not go to a burn pile so using it in this way would be nice, but I haven't read anything positive about the use of pine in hugelbeds.


Very cool! Do you know where the the hugel will be located? I am guessing it is not going to be on campus (Lincoln). I would love to see it growing something. I am in the process of hugelkultur-ing and its very intriguing. Congrats on the new project!
 
Kendra Nelson
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Amos Burkey wrote: Very cool! Do you know where the the hugel will be located? I am guessing it is not going to be on campus (Lincoln). I would love to see it growing something. I am in the process of hugelkultur-ing and its very intriguing. Congrats on the new project!


It will be on East Campus at the student organic farm behind the Law College, which is a little scary because they dont want anything "messy looking"
 
Amos Burkey
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Its been a few years since I last visited East Campus. Most of my time was spent on City Campus. I will have to check out the map and maybe ask my brother, whose office used to be on East Campus. Will you be able to tend the Hugel throughout the summer?
 
Erik Pehoviack
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So, just wondering if there's any update on the hugel there in Lincoln? I realize winter's in full force and last summer probably wasn't enough time to do any major testing, but is it still standing? Did it collect drifting snow? Were you able to grow anything? We're in Ord and would love to come down sometime to see your work!
 
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