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update on this springs "hugel" experiment

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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OK, as I have said we heat with hardwood here at our home. Husband sweeps up and stores for me about 8 to 10 ..20 # bags..of bark, sawdust, whatever falls on the woodshed floor, some rotton, some not. Well this winter it was snowy and wet so it was wet when it was stored in the bags..and started to rot somewhat.

Generally i put it on TOP of the ground for a mulch, but after reading about the hugelkulture, I thought, why not try burying it in some new beds I was working on.

I had used a pitchfork to dig out the weeds in an area..mostly quackgrass..and then i moved the soil that was loose aside..dumped the bark mixture..and then put the soil back over the top with a little composted manure.

That was back in March that I built these beds.

Well some apple trees came that are to be the foundation of my food forest gardens in these areas, and so i was digging holes to plant them in some of the beds yesterday, and i had to dig down into those beds to get the holes for the apple trees..WOW, the soil in those holes was really wonderful, black, full of humus, very few unrotted chunks of bark, i was so pleased with how FAST the bark and stuff in there had incorporated into the soil and made the soil so much nicer than it was before i put it in. I'll be watching to see how well those trees grow in the beds..some of the other trees were put in normally prepared beds (with comopost and composted manure)..it will be a kick to see how  much difference there might be between the growth of the guilds in the different beds..
these beds were also raised after the bark was buried in them..some more than others..i can't really do this in areas where there are already permanent ploantings (like asparagus, berrries, trees, etc) but i still will continue to use the bark as a mulch on top of the beds along with the compost and composted manure. This is how most of the beds on my entire property were prepared, but i'll continue to do the burying of the bark and stuff in the new beds as i make them..what a nice change in the soil..as the humus is deeper into the soil than when it is applied as a mulch
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20413
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I would add a little organic lawn fertilizer this year. 

If it were big sticks and logs, you wouldn't have to worry about it.  But with sawdust - it can tie up a lot of available N.  So a little organic lawn fertilizer would mitigate that.

Or, even better, moldy hay (not straw) mulch.



 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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yeah i've been begging for moldy or rotted hay or straw around here and can't seem to come up with any (maybe the permaculture books are getting read too much in my area) everyone grabbing up the spoiled hay wah
I even put an ad on craigslist trying to find a source..

actually most of the stuff that got buried was actually bark and bark chips rather than sawdust..and i did add several inches of composted manure.

what actually would be "organic lawn fertilizer??" I don't fertilize my lawns with other than leaving my mowing clippings and allowing a lot of weeds to grow in the lawn..my lawn is mostly mowed fields.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Soy or cotton meal, corn gluten (which can interfere with seed germination), Urea (chemically identical to the non-organic urea), fish meal, blood meal (has lots of salt in it), feather meal, bat guano (fresh, not fossilized), manure, grass clippings, etc. Jeff Lowenfelds recommends you try to stick to things at or below 5-5-5 NPK and that straying into conventional at that strength isn't going to be the end of the gardening world.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 20413
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I like moldy hay best.  If I don't have that, I tend to use feather meal.  I like the ringer brand of organic lawn fertilizer.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i have been attempting for months now to come by  some straw or hay, very difficult to find around here, even during haying season..but i'm determined.. we used to have a guy that had rye straw and he would sell us his excess..but he no longer has it avail. Maybe i can get some from the Amish..? not likely..i'm sure they use their own

all the wood products now go to the cogen plant and they are talking about opening a bioplant nearby which will gobble up more of the natural resources that once were widely avail
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i have been attempting for months now to come by  some straw or hay, very difficult to find around here, even during haying season..but i'm determined.. we used to have a guy that had rye straw and he would sell us his excess..but he no longer has it avail. Maybe i can get some from the Amish..? not likely..i'm sure they use their own

all the wood products now go to the cogen plant and they are talking about opening a bioplant nearby which will gobble up more of the natural resources that once were widely avail


It always struck me as a little ironic how people would talk a lot about how great some renewable resource was, one that would sustain us for a good long time, then the resource gets used on an industrial scale and we find out how little there is to go around once everyone is getting a share. I suspect strongly that using agricultural biproducts for power generation is a waste of biproducts at this time, though if I worked in a power plant I might feel differently about the issue.
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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the Warm Springs tribe has a wood waste burning electrical plant. It supplies power to the reservation, I'm pretty sure the power is "free" to tribal members. The tribe has timber land it manages for timber sales and is cleaning out the trash from fire suppression, which is used to burn in the electric plant(as well as slash from logging). One could argue the slash would have burned up naturally in grass fires, BUT the volume/mass the slash acheived never would have been if it had been allowed to burn.

I think it's a great system--
provides jobs and resources to the tribe
makes power(as close to zero emission as you can get, and way cleaner than coal)
restores ponderosa pine forest to historical structure

 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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In the horse industry there is massive waste of used bedding comprised of wood shaving or sawdust, manure and urine .  Horse breeders also foal out onto straw for hygeine purposes so networking you might locate some free used straw that has horse waste as well if you are willing to get it and haul it away.  It might take some calls and networking to find it locally.  Also feed dealerships do have the odd bad bale of hay  with mildew they might be happy to offer you free (or even the stables themselves). 

Your posts on your property are an inspiration  : ) 
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Synergy wrote:
In the horse industry there is massive waste of used bedding comprised of wood shaving or sawdust, manure and urine .  Horse breeders also foal out onto straw for hygeine purposes so networking you might locate some free used straw that has horse waste as well if you are willing to get it and haul it away.  It might take some calls and networking to find it locally.  Also feed dealerships do have the odd bad bale of hay  with mildew they might be happy to offer you free (or even the stables themselves). 

Your posts on your property are an inspiration  : ) 


Here's a company that recycles the wood shaving horse bedding for mulch.  It is composted for six weeks prior to shipping.  I started using it about a month ago.  Nice stuff.

http://www.sweetpeet.com/
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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oh there are products available around here to purchse, similar to your sweet peat, i buy "dairy doo" from Morgan composting by the truckload, $98 for a pick up load..however, i'm talking about straw, wood chips, sawdust, hay, etc.

it just isn't available ..except for a high price.

used to be able to get a bale of spoiled straw for $2 and haul it yourself..but now there isn't any..

we also have some horse bedding/manure available to us, but we have a long drive to pick it up ..

i'm referring more to MULCH rather than fertilizer or soil ammendments..

we have tons of sawmills around here, but you can't get sawdust or wood chips any more from them..they sell them to the cogen plant..even the amish sawmills do that now..

we have truckers that live on our road that sell all the woods around us..chipped into wood chips..to the co gen plants.

they have clear cut the forest to sell to the cogen plants.

the bear and other wildlife come here to our property as the forests now are just nothing but baby trees planted to reforest after clear cutting..poor management...i used to bring truckloads of bark, sawdust, and spoiled hay and straw into our property for about $20 to $40 a truckload, now it just isn't there to buy
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