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rabbit manure hugelkultur

 
Davis Bonk
Posts: 38
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I am making a mound out of cottonwood and rabbit manure and bedding. Does anyone have any input?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Small mound or lots of rabbits?

 
Davis Bonk
Posts: 38
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20 some rabbits. A whole winters worth. Cages an deep bedding. Lots of one year down bucked cottonwood available for free. I figured I might as well make a hugel instead of moving it all then moving it all again but this is my first perma venture and I know many heads are better than one. Should I add sand/gravel?
 
Davis Bonk
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Thus far.
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Davis Bonk
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That pic is a bedding heavy layer, some layers were pure brown but I decided to start saving the best manure for the top and garden. Its about waist high right now. Shooting for over six feet. The pic only shows half the mound. It is oriented north/south because of the property line. After this mound is finished I am going to make a bigger east/west one along the fence. Sorry for the short posts. I'm on mobile and rural.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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No worries about rabbit manure, it's not supposed to burn plants even when fresh.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3661
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Keep us posted Davis!

I really want to see how that 6 foot hugel works out!
 
Davis Bonk
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Thank you for the input and interest. I am glad there are no objections, but they are welcome. I will try to keep updating the creation and life of the mound. It will be greatly beneficial to me to be able to look back at the process and I'm hoping others can learn something as well. Even if its what not to do.

I am beginning to plan a second mound that will be much longer, but I want to try and build it as horizontally as possible after I get a pillar started at the right height so I can keep things dense and not sprawling when doing happens.

I want to make some sections from pine in hopes that blueberries will thrive. How dense should I make it? All pine/half pine/a smidge of pine? I am asking about this because I am hoping to get a welcoming acidity and maintain it with mulch. I should have said pine boughs. I want to save the good wood.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3661
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
134
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Davis, any information you can put forth about Ph in a pine hugel would add to our knowlege base. There have been several questions asked about this. So do an experiment, if you have the space, with all three quantities!
 
Davis Bonk
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Udate photo.

I'll see what I can do about the pine beds. I may only make one and gradually change the ratio of pine from 100% to around 10% and see how it goes.
 
Davis Bonk
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Hello, sorry I've been absent on this. I figured I should give another update. I planted garlic this spring and had very good success with bulb size for spring planting, but it was very mild and had a punky wood sourness to the flavor so I am using it all for seedstock. I highly recommend using hugels to grow garlic for seed stock, but for flavor and market, I would stick to the tried n true methods. The tomatoes were a gigantic failure. They were some of the biggest tomato plants I have ever seen but mostly just vined down and out from the mound causing a lot of rot and harvest required having to damage a lot of plant to get the few good fruits. If a plant likes trellises don't put it on your mound. The leeks did OK as well as the shallots but I haven't eaten too many so I can't say they are well flavored. I have 1 horseradish clump in there that has to come out and I can give reports on that later. What should I plant next spring? I'm thinking of just planting nuts on it to use for pig food and concentrating on normal garden beds more.
 
Julia Winter
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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Hugelkultur beds work best in their second and third years, so I wouldn't just grow pig food on your hugel bed this year. I didn't see this thread when you started it, but I'm thinking you have a wood and bedding core, with a layer of soil on top. Something I learned when I visited Paul's lab was that you should have soil layered throughout the berm, such that the hunks of wood are surrounded by soil, just barely touching each other. It's not what I thought you do, but maybe that's what it takes for a tall berm that works.

The goal is that the wood rots in there, and becomes spongy, and supports fungus, and holds water.

In the first year, you get some advantages from having the soil raised up and aerated, but the wood is not soft yet, so you're not getting the sponge effect. I would try at least one more tomato. Try the tomato at the top, keep it well mulched so the vines don't lie on mud, let the vines tumble down - it works for me! If your tomatoes went nuts with foliage, it could be they were tapping in to all the nitrogen from the rabbit urine in the bedding. That shouldn't be a problem in the second year. It was good to have a lot of nitrogen in there with all the carbon of the wood and bedding, but as time goes by, the underground soil life will work to bring things into balance.

My suggestion - this year, try a variety of things on the bed you built. It's going to behave differently this year.
 
Davis Bonk
Posts: 38
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The brown dead in the back is the tomatoes

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Raine Hogan
Posts: 28
Location: Salt Lake City
4
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I fouond that fruiting plants don't do so well in a hugels first year.

I did cantaloupes in a first year hugel of mixed woods (pine, alder, hawthorn, oak, etc), horse manure and dirt that was top dressed with rabbit manure and straw mulch. All of my greens and peas did great, but the cantaloupe vined out and I never got one fruit. This year I put the cantaloupe in a different 2 year old hugel and it gave me some of the sweetest melons I ever ate. The bed from the previous growing , I planted butternut squash, green beans, and radishes in. I got lots of beans, and 32 large squash, and lots of radishes. The squash was supposed to be a bush variety, but went from bush to some sort of vining- to the point of falling out of the bed.
I also planted some butternut squash and beans in a new hugel, but only got 4 squash and no beans from the same number of plants.
Now my husband's afraid he's going to have to eat squash twice a week to use all of those squash up.
The bed is framed in with 2 old restaurant doors (with windows so you can see the wood) and pallets on the ends, so its about 3 feet tall, by 8 foot, by 4 foot wide. We also had purslane and mushrooms growing until last week at it's base because of the swale filled with wood chips that serves as a path between all of the beds.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 796
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
44
forest garden urban
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I'm just going to add my vote to the extra nitrogen from the rabbit manure causing the problems with your tomatoes.
We moved into a new home about three years ago and have a neighbor who raises rabbits for competition. We happily accepted (begged for) wheelbarrows of rabbit manure which we applied to the first of our garden beds. We do have experience growing tomatoes. And we have had success since, but that year we got less than half a dozen tomatoes off the huge plants that grew in that traditional bed.
 
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