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My first hugelkultur bed

 
Skip LaCroix
Posts: 54
Location: Reeds Spring, MO z 6-7 prev South Florida, z 10a-10b 1989-2015 prev 1981-1989 North Vermont
9
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After much time and deliberation I finally just said screw it and spent a couple days gathering whatever dead wood I could find from the forest behind the house. The bed runs east to west on the bottom of a 1% grade garden patch on top of 80% rock, 15% clay, 5% sand silt organic matter. Large 6"-12" logs on the bottom are covered in progressively smaller logs and sticks. The top layers of organics are collected fresh brush from the high slope side of the driveway to avoid automotive drippings.

At the same time I had been asked to widen and deepen a drainage ditch from the top of the property. The majority of this 1 acre property is in the bottom of a valley that receives shunted water from the surrounding 5 acres of unoccupied 80+ year old forest. I took the ditch diggings and sifted them using a two tier sifter. I took out the rocks larger than 1" top mesh and 1/2" bottom mesh for graded rock material to be used in previously washed out parts of the driveway and garden paths. The remaining rich, dark brown, mostly clay forest soil became the topping for my hugel bed.

I seeded heavy with clover, daikon, and a mix of random seeds and beans from my collection in the hopes of getting a dense multilayered network of roots at least started before the frost comes. I realize my piss poor timing here but I had the free time and, being not my land, permission to do not much else. I also figured that since the winter has the highest rate of decay it wouldn't be too bad to get that process going now.

This has been quite the learning experience and has greatly improved my personal physical stamina over the last month of digging through this rocky __________ __________ turd of a ditch to say the least. (expletives removed for public safety ) All digging has been done with my only tools being a pickaxe, many 5 gal buckets, and a wheelbarrow. Whew. I can safely say that my ability to lift a rock filled 5 gal bucket is top notch now.
 
Skip LaCroix
Posts: 54
Location: Reeds Spring, MO z 6-7 prev South Florida, z 10a-10b 1989-2015 prev 1981-1989 North Vermont
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Now where did my pictures go?
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1063
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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not sure on the pictures, but cant wait to see them, kudos on sticking it out to build the hugelkultur bed by hand, i have done so on one section the beds i have made in cheyenne and i can atttest to the sheer amount of labor involved in building a ful sized hugel by hand
 
Skip LaCroix
Posts: 54
Location: Reeds Spring, MO z 6-7 prev South Florida, z 10a-10b 1989-2015 prev 1981-1989 North Vermont
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Lets see if the pictures work this time.
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It has begun!
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The ditch of delirious digging!
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Such a dirty little hump. ;)
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1063
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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awesome looking hugelkultur, i hope to see some pics of that thing in action when you get to the point of planting/growing on it!
 
Skip LaCroix
Posts: 54
Location: Reeds Spring, MO z 6-7 prev South Florida, z 10a-10b 1989-2015 prev 1981-1989 North Vermont
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Had a bunch of long slow drizzling rain for the two days after seeding the hugel bed and what a blessing it was. The perfect timing to end the 16 day, no rain streak. Thank you mother nature.

I realized I should make this log a bit more fastidious and include some scientifically pertinent details. The bed was seeded on October 29th 2015. My seed blend was personally cobbled together out of seed I had left over from the year before and some gifts from friends. The mix was approximately 80% Daikon Radish, Red Clover. The remaining 20% was a very random mix of small amounts of about 20 other species. I basically used some of whatever I had sitting around in little $2 seed bags.

Thai Basil, California Wonder 300 TMR Peppers, Mammoth and Fernleaf Dill, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Rosemary, Lavender, Borage, Brandywine Tomato, Green Oakleaf lettuce, Webb's Wonderful lettuce, Corn Salad lettuce, Mung beans, Burdock, Red Cherry Tomato, Cherry Radish, Black Sesame, Scarlet Nantes Carrot, Spearmint and Cow peas and inoculant. That about covers the list.

This is an experiment to see what will grow when and where, and what seeds will survive the winter and pop out in spring.

In about a week I saw my first sprouts despite the temperatures into the low 40s upper 30s. I recognize the Radish sprouts immediately but haven't really seen much of the others grow before. My best guess is that the Nitro coated Red Clover and Daikon were the first to pop as they were the majority of the mix and the sprouts are all over the place. The first picture of sprouted plants is at day 9. The second is at day 14.
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Day 9, zoomed in real close.
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Day 14.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 1687
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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looking good so far!
 
Skip LaCroix
Posts: 54
Location: Reeds Spring, MO z 6-7 prev South Florida, z 10a-10b 1989-2015 prev 1981-1989 North Vermont
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I have been slacking on posting in this thread, but have been collecting photos here and there. I will now attempt to get caught up a little.
11-22-2015 whole hugel bed.jpg
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11-22-15 Day 24 After a couple days with low temps reaching 24F
11-22-2015 closeup of Daikon.jpg
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11-22-15 Day 24 After a couple days with low temps reaching 24F
12-13-2015 whole garden.jpg
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12-13-15 Day 45 Abnormally warm temperatures throughout the area have spurred further growth
 
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