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Natural Hugelkultur's to Potting Soil

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My wife is pretty proud of herself; she made her own potting soil to start some of her Garden Veggies. It is still early here in Maine, but nearing the growing season of starting plants in the house.

The other day I built a trail up through an old growth part of our forest and it was filled with naturally occurring hugelkultur's. We call naturally occurring hugelkultur's "cradle-knolls" here, but well armed, they can be tamed. As my wife walked the new trail with me, she noted how rich the soil was from all that decomposed wood over the centuries, so today we hiked way up in there and dug out a 5 gallon pail full of the dirt.

Then we went out back of the sheep barn and dug 1/2 a pail of decomposed sheep poo. That was oh so black and pretty much void of hay since it has all been broken down from two years of being cast to the side.

Then we added perlite.

So that was our three ingredients. Natural hugelkultur soil, sheep manure, and perlite. We discussed adding peat, but we already had plenty of sticks and whatnot from the natural hugelkultur soil and so opted not to. We dumped it all in our cement mixer and let it churn. Don't laugh too much at our cement mixer; we use it more for mixing dirt than we ever have in making cement. It really is an asset on a homestead.

Presto! In just a few minutes of churning any clay rolled into balls which we separated and we were left with ideal potting soil. It looks just like the kind you buy, but I am betting probably better. I told my wife we should send it in (before adding the perlite) and see what a soil test ranks it as. I bet its pretty high in NPK.

I am not sure what we saved in money. The perlite was $4, so probably not a lot, but with everything mixed we got about (2) 5 gallon pails of it. We will see how it grows plants, but I am thinking pretty well. It looks and smells good; if there is such a thing as sheep poo derived, hugelkultur soil!
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Unless there is a need for lightness, fine gravel can replace the perlite. Mixed glacial till contains many nutrients that are not found in perlite.
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