So I have been having fun with lots of fallen trees. Well actually about an acre. Having recently acquired land to build a home and establish all sorts of growth the first thing we needed was sunlight! The actual moment that felling started was sad (actually very), I love trees! The forest floor was a peaceful place that I had hardly gotten to know. The wooded area was full of oak- red, white and some other, hickory, maple and a few this and that. We have a few more acres that will be left intact. Anywho, having cleared a place for our home, drain-field and growing area... This messy spot was screaming some sort of hugel work.
The issues are/were: limited tools- I have 2 20ft 7k lbs chains, a come along, a 4x4 truck and a farm boss. The site is a south/east grade, almost intense at times. Lots of trees and stumps in the way. Limited money. I have a 40 hour job. Really can't stand to sit another growing season out (having recently sold our last home to make this happen).
The pros are/were: I have been actively reading as much on Hugelkulture for maybe 2 years now for some reason. This site is awesomely filled with examples. I placed old wood in the bottom of my raised beds before and it seemed they needed less water than the others. I don't see this as work. I have been receiving spent coffee grinds from a local shop. About to receive food waste from a local shop. Chipped about 8 pickup loads of tree tops. I have chickens to help add to the N needs. A cousin will load me up from his winter barn where the cows stayed. The forest floor is rich with leaf mold and in some places 8 to 12 inches of leaves.
And the story highlights..
At first I thought maybe I could direct the way the larger trees fell so that the beds would be close to making there selves. Not true. They fell the way they wanted.
Didn't quite know how to move all this into place and had many thoughts I will leave out. A conversation or two and the idea of using the stumps to hold the logs on the hillside was born. Now the question, how likely could it be that any of the stumps or logs would be in the right place...
Turns out, everything is in the right place. I actually can not believe how the dots are connecting here.. There are logs up hill that need to come downhill and stumps that some how are magically in a line..
To this point I have created/started 4 beds. With at least 3 or 4 more planned.. We will see how it happens though.. None of these beds are dug into the ground. All of the the larger logs are packed with smaller twigs/branches from the tree tops. I am trying to desolve as much tree as possibly into these beds. I am also adding wood chips and leaves early to help dense pack to keep as few creatures from living in them as possible.
The first is a semi tree driven summer shade bed. Excellent for my favorite crops. Kale, spinach, etc.
This bed is interesting as it stacks up to about 4 feet and is shaped like a triangle, so the back is just a bunch of logs. I could see this helpful with air. Any thoughts? The growing space is about 17ft by 4ft. This bed is full of logs- new and old, wood chips, coffee, chicken poo, compost, leaves. I will top dress it with wood chips and hopefully old hay(that i do not have).
The second bed has a good base, It is in full sun and towards the bottom of the slope. It is half or less what it will be length. It is about 30 feet long and 4 to 5 feet wide. So far it is about 2 feet deep.
The third bed connects to the second and runs north to south (almost). It is 45 ft long and 6 to 7 feet wide. No too much has been added to it yet, the outline and a large log with more other smaller logs. Full sun again but with the possibility of an East and West side, height depending.
The fourth bed is really just a few logs that happen to be on the bottom of a pile and is a few hours away from being started. I don't have pics of this one yet but will. It is full sun, perhaps no morning sun.
And now for the pictures because I don't know how to add them to my post.
Mobile Chicken house build-