Gain the long term benefits of hugelkulture while minimizing short term cons?
posted 2 years ago
One problem I often see people reporting with their new hugelkulture beds is that the soil slides off and the top doesn't retain moisture. I may have thought up a solution.
Soil doesn't like to stay on large logs. It gets washed off by rain. In fact, two materials that vary too much in consistency tend to wind up with the fine material on the bottom and coarse materials on top. I have witnessed this with my compost piles when coffee ground sprinkled on top of coarse hay just fall straight through to the bottom. However, If there is a mix of materials that are all over the spectrum of fine-coarse, things tend to incorporate much more easily. So, if when making a hugelkuture bed, we organize the coarsest stuff on the bottom, and the finest on top, things are more likely to stay put.
Today I was inspired to make such a bed. Taking stock of what was immediately available within 100 yards of my garden, I noticed: two fallen branches, 3-6 inches in diameter, coarse hay left where it lay after the city mowed the park, palm leaves, cover material for my compost pile (grass clippings, hay, leaves, etc) and crappy, dense subsoil incorporated with gravel. I put the branches on the bottom, palm leaves, ribs and all on that, hay on that, compost cover material on that, then I chipped out some subsoil and plopped it on top.
The heavy soil on top probably shrunk the whole thing 6 inches but for the most part, It's staying on top. We will see what happens when the rain comes. I'll sprinkle some plantain and pig weed on there and start dumping the urinebucket on there too. When I'm feeling REALLY special I might even water the thing once in awhile. I'll let you guys know how it goes.