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hugelkultur-ish raised beds in suburban detroit

 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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first time, long time...

i live in an inner-ring suburb of detroit (ferndale whoop, whoop!).  i've gardened about a 1000 sq. ft. plot in my yard and am beginning to install raised beds.  i have room for about 12 10'x5' beds

after reading this forum and a few others, i've become convinced that i can really jazz up my raised beds by employing some hugelkultur techniques.  so i started by digging up about 10" under each frame.  i would have loved to just pile dirt into mounds, but with my chickens and bees, i figure the neighbors would prefer looking at something more tidy and i don't want to push it too far.

before i got too far along, i realized my folly: it's going to be really difficult to source out enough wood to economically do a straight-up, textbook hugelkultur bed.

so, i started thinking of another organic material option and realized that it being fall, there are tons and tons of leaves out there.  in the suburbs, the cities don't come by with the big leaf vacuums anymore and suck up a loose pile on the curb, instead, they expect residents to rake and bag their leaves.  i figure leaves would be a good option because the trees feed far enough under ground that it might mitigate some of the chemicals people use on their lawns.  i'm trying to do things as organic as possible without having to be an accountant about it all.

my plan would be to pack the bagged leaves and brush into the beds instead of logs and then back fill in with the topsoil that's sitting in piles in my backyard.  i realize it would decay far faster than a log, but are there any other disadvantages that i'm missing?  are there any advantages?  will the leaves cause any sort of soil imbalance (too much N, P, or K relative to the others)?  does anyone have any other alternative ideas?

anyways, i love the forum.  what a great resource for newbies like me!

if you're interested, check out my progress in my blog: http://www.ourcalories.blogspot.com .  i'm trying to calculate how much of my family's yearly caloric intake i can grow on a single-lot in the city.

thanks in advance.
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Tyler Ludens
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Most likely you will have a nitrogen deficiency unless you mix some manure with the sticks and leaves.    But this would likely only be a problem if the soil over the brush were shallow.  If the soil deep enough, most of the vegetable roots will probably hang out in the upper regions and be able to get adequate nutrition.

This is just my guess.  My soil seems to be exhibiting some deficiencies which I assume is from putting various carbons in without adequate nitrogen.  I expect this to even out over a few years.

 
                                          
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Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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the raised beds are 8 inches high and i've dug down about 10".  i can dig up more, but, frankly, would prefer not to have to invest the time or the sweat to put the leaves deeper.

i could definitely add some manure from my chickens, and have a big pile of whatever green plants were in the garden before i chopped it all down to install the raised beds.

so, maybe put down the bagged leaves and then add some of the manure and green leafies on top of the bagged leaves before backfilling?

i'm still negotiating with my wife as to whether or not i can start storing my urine in the bathroom in a jug before putting it on the garden, so that's another option to add nitrogen that will depend on the mediation agreement. :)
 
                                          
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wait, wouldn't wood also cause a nitrogen deficiency?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, it might, if it weren't rotted enough.

 
Brenda Groth
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i understand the concern of neighbors but why not make it beautiful..you can buy some cattle panels at a tractor supply type store (they are long so you might need a trailer or help getting them home..they are about 16' long and about $20 each..

if you fasten one to one of your beds endways and curve it up and over and fasten to the bed next to it over the path, you'll make beautiful arches over your pathways..you can grow either permanent or annual vine crops over those arches..some heavier permanent crops might require some bracing on the uprights.

on my arbors I grow things togehter like climbing roses with grapes, honeysucke and clematis, etc..kiwi would work in Detroit too if you get hardy kiwi (buy male and female)

it will be absolutely beautiful..also if you put a couple of flowers along the "city view" sides of your beds they will also be making your neighbors totally jealous and soon your entire eighborhood will be asking your advice on buildling their gardens.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree, Brenda!  And include lots of flowers, if not in the beds themselves, then in large pots here and there. 
 
Aljaz Plankl
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My father double dig his garden every year. He digs down two spades lengths and put it on the surface in front. Then he backfill with lots of leaves mixed with a year old scraps from compost bin. Half of the bin is compost, the rest is  partly done compost and fresh organic waste. Before he backfills with the soil from the next trench he packs all this stuff by walking on it.
For sure use all the stuff you have available, don't use only leaves. Also i wouldn't first put down leaves and then everything else, i would mix everything together.
 
Pat Black
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Hugelkutur could be translated as mound culture. It came about to utilize the resource of wood. The mounds are 2 - 3 feet high of wood covered in a foot of soil. This composts the wood more quickly than having it exposed to a lot of air. Since the soil is a foot deep, the nitrogen is only tied up at the interface between the wood and the soil. So the plant roots can be happy in the top profile of the soil. If one is really concerned about the nitrogen tie up you can grow properly inoculated nitrogen fixing plants on the top of the mound. As the wood decomposes it becomes a water retaining sponge and adds carbon and minerals to the soil. Further, the decomposition will release heat into the soil, making plants grow more quickly. Hugelkulture gives you a lot of edge effect especially if you have a series of mounded rows. You are developing peaks and valleys, with different moisture levels, temperatures, sun exposures.

So in permaculture we are working first with what resources we have. Since you don't have wood available, and you are not going to be creating a 3 - 4 foot high mound, you really aren't talking about hugelkultur. Or even hugelkultur-ish, as you say.

It appears from your picture that you are using  treated lumber to create the raised beds. If that is true, I'd recommend removing it and just sloping the edge of the raised beds. Treated lumber is toxic to the very microbes that you were wanting to digest that other wood that you wished you had. It is also toxic to humans, particularly children. Since your beds are 8" high, just slope them 8" out for a 1:1 slope. The treated wood was simply there to give you a vertical edge on the bed, but you're not using the vertical edge for anything. If you leave enough flat ground between beds for walking and rolling the wheel of a wheelbarrow down the path, you will have just enough room to work. You can plant low growing perennial herbs on the slope of the raised bed too.

Finally, you say you have a resource of leaves. If you have a shredder, you can reduce the volume of material by half or more. Without a shredder your material is very bulky and harder to work with. If you have a tiller you could till some leaves into the soil during raised bed construction. Spading them in by hand doesn't seem very feasible. Sounds like you've done your fair share of hand digging already! You can save bags of dry leaves for making compost, which is again a lot of work, but it gives you the brown matter that you need to layer with your green matter for hot composting. Or, you could make leaf mold for top dressing the beds later on. You could till or rake the leaf mold into the top 2" of soil every year.

Here's how I make leaf mold. All during the fall as I drive around town I keep an eye out for bags of leaves. I toss them in back of the pickup truck. My best sources are the bed and breakfasts, where they have paid maintenance people who rake up the leaves on a regular basis. Back on my land I have pallet bins, which are just 4 pallets wired together with baling wire into a box shape with no bottom. Pallets are generally free from businesses that receive a lot of products or materials. The leaves get dumped in the top of a bin. Here in my arid climate I water the leaves. Then I stomp them down as much as possible. Could be a good job for your kid! You want to compact the leaves as much as you can. I make bins in series, so I have a long bin divided into 4 foot cubes of leaves. Then I place a pallet on top to keep the leaves from blowing away and to keep the deer from eating all the leaves.

I keep the piles moist by applying a little water on top on occasion in the summer. That is probably unnecessary in your climate. Then I otherwise forget about the piles for 2 - 3 years. Since yiou want to make use of your urine resource maybe you can design the leaf mold piles so you can directly piss onto them. Decomposition is slow in my cold, semi-arid climate. Where you are located, the bins might be done in a season. It turns into chocolate cake for your soil!
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i understand the concern of neighbors but why not make it beautiful..you can buy some cattle panels at a tractor supply type store (they are long so you might need a trailer or help getting them home..they are about 16' long and about $20 each..

if you fasten one to one of your beds endways and curve it up and over and fasten to the bed next to it over the path, you'll make beautiful arches over your pathways..you can grow either permanent or annual vine crops over those arches..some heavier permanent crops might require some bracing on the uprights.

on my arbors I grow things togehter like climbing roses with grapes, honeysucke and clematis, etc..kiwi would work in Detroit too if you get hardy kiwi (buy male and female)

it will be absolutely beautiful..also if you put a couple of flowers along the "city view" sides of your beds they will also be making your neighbors totally jealous and soon your entire eighborhood will be asking your advice on buildling their gardens.


i love arbors.  unfortunatley, my lot is only 40x140.  it isn't big enough for me to space out the beds and put up arbors without blocking much of the day's sun.

i'd like to put arbors up other places, but not near the beds.  grapes and kiwis would be great.  i tried to vine kiwis up a tree in 2009, but the squirrels trampled both the male and the female plants.

the other constraint is money.  i'm committed to doing this whole thing with as little input as possible.  money is tight and i've committed to building the whole setup for less than $200.  that means doing all the work with hand tools and sourcing as much of the materials out for free.

all the framing lumber has been bought half-off at a nearby lumber yard and the rest will be bought at a building materials salvage yard in detroit.  other than that i've bought only a couple rolls of the the 1" rolled metal that plumbers use to tie pipes to joices to tie the corners of the beds up tightly.
 
                                          
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NM Grower wrote:
Hugelkutur could be translated as mound culture. It came about to utilize the resource of wood. The mounds are 2 - 3 feet high of wood covered in a foot of soil. This composts the wood more quickly than having it exposed to a lot of air. Since the soil is a foot deep, the nitrogen is only tied up at the interface between the wood and the soil. So the plant roots can be happy in the top profile of the soil. If one is really concerned about the nitrogen tie up you can grow properly inoculated nitrogen fixing plants on the top of the mound. As the wood decomposes it becomes a water retaining sponge and adds carbon and minerals to the soil. Further, the decomposition will release heat into the soil, making plants grow more quickly. Hugelkulture gives you a lot of edge effect especially if you have a series of mounded rows. You are developing peaks and valleys, with different moisture levels, temperatures, sun exposures.

So in permaculture we are working first with what resources we have. Since you don't have wood available, and you are not going to be creating a 3 - 4 foot high mound, you really aren't talking about hugelkultur. Or even hugelkultur-ish, as you say.


thanks for the clarification.  i just really liked the idea of using the wood or leaves to act as a water accumulator and nutrient source.  whether the wood or leaves is at ground level or 12" down, it does the same for me.

It appears from your picture that you are using  treated lumber to create the raised beds. If that is true, I'd recommend removing it and just sloping the edge of the raised beds. Treated lumber is toxic to the very microbes that you were wanting to digest that other wood that you wished you had. It is also toxic to humans, particularly children. Since your beds are 8" high, just slope them 8" out for a 1:1 slope. The treated wood was simply there to give you a vertical edge on the bed, but you're not using the vertical edge for anything. If you leave enough flat ground between beds for walking and rolling the wheel of a wheelbarrow down the path, you will have just enough room to work. You can plant low growing perennial herbs on the slope of the raised bed too.


the wood is old, not treated.  i bought it half off at a lumber yard.  i'm betting that it was sitting outside at a job site all summer and the outside darkened.

Finally, you say you have a resource of leaves. If you have a shredder, you can reduce the volume of material by half or more. Without a shredder your material is very bulky and harder to work with. If you have a tiller you could till some leaves into the soil during raised bed construction. Spading them in by hand doesn't seem very feasible. Sounds like you've done your fair share of hand digging already! You can save bags of dry leaves for making compost, which is again a lot of work, but it gives you the brown matter that you need to layer with your green matter for hot composting. Or, you could make leaf mold for top dressing the beds later on. You could till or rake the leaf mold into the top 2" of soil every year.


yeah, in the suburbs, people rake their leaves and bag them in compostable brown paper bags that are about 4 feet long and 2.5 feet in diameter.  i was just going to throw the bags in without breakign them down.  my thinking was that there would be space and air trapped in there that would be good for the beds.

Here's how I make leaf mold. All during the fall as I drive around town I keep an eye out for bags of leaves. I toss them in back of the pickup truck. My best sources are the bed and breakfasts, where they have paid maintenance people who rake up the leaves on a regular basis. Back on my land I have pallet bins, which are just 4 pallets wired together with baling wire into a box shape with no bottom. Pallets are generally free from businesses that receive a lot of products or materials. The leaves get dumped in the top of a bin. Here in my arid climate I water the leaves. Then I stomp them down as much as possible. Could be a good job for your kid! You want to compact the leaves as much as you can. I make bins in series, so I have a long bin divided into 4 foot cubes of leaves. Then I place a pallet on top to keep the leaves from blowing away and to keep the deer from eating all the leaves.

I keep the piles moist by applying a little water on top on occasion in the summer. That is probably unnecessary in your climate. Then I otherwise forget about the piles for 2 - 3 years. Since yiou want to make use of your urine resource maybe you can design the leaf mold piles so you can directly piss onto them. Decomposition is slow in my cold, semi-arid climate. Where you are located, the bins might be done in a season. It turns into chocolate cake for your soil!



leaf mold? ... now that sounds great!  my only problem would be with space.  my yard is really small.  being able to store leaves for years outside would directly impact the amount of area i have for grilling, gardening, and my kid's play area.

designing a good system on a small space is really tough and requires some considerations that country folk don't quite relate to as easily with all their wide open space.

the challenge is to limit inputs on a very small space.  my available area is only about 1000 square feet and then three feet of border gardens  around the perimeter of the backyard.  it's kind of like a straight jacket.
 
Paula Edwards
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If you want woody material you only must call some garden maintenance businesses, they give you heaps of them! They will be very happy to take it because they pay for the tip otherwise.
If you have a lawn mower you could mow over a heap of leaves, however I myself haven't tried it as we do not own a mower.
When I look at the pictures I cannot imagine that the neighbours complain, it looks everything very tidy, but maybe tidiness In Australia is defined differently. Better give them honey and eggs ans they won't complain.
 
                                          
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ediblecities wrote:
If you want woody material you only must call some garden maintenance businesses, they give you heaps of them! They will be very happy to take it because they pay for the tip otherwise.
If you have a lawn mower you could mow over a heap of leaves, however I myself haven't tried it as we do not own a mower.
When I look at the pictures I cannot imagine that the neighbours complain, it looks everything very tidy, but maybe tidiness In Australia is defined differently. Better give them honey and eggs ans they won't complain.


thanks.  my garden this year got out of control and it didn't seem tidy to me.  no one complained, but a few times i couldn't weed for a couple weeks at a clip and it got to looking haggard.

i have bees and a few hens.  the bees are legal, but may constitute a nuisance if an allergic neighbor called and complained.  the hens are definitely illegal.  they have to be 150 feet from any other occupied building, and that's nearly impossible in our neighborhood.  for this reason, i want it all too look nice, so that no calls to the city are thought to be necessary.
 
Paula Edwards
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150 feet that's something like 50 meters, are they crazy??
You must have a chicken get together and do something against this regulation. Were we lived before they allowed 6 chicken but no rooster and I think 3 meters from a fence, now you simply must lock your rooster in at night. You might ask your city council what distance they are asking for a dog or a cat from the next dwelling. A dogs stinks barks and has fleas. And a cat brings dead animals into your and your neighbours house.
 
                                          
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it's an intentional decision, not an act of lunacy.  they don't want farm animals in our town, but don't want to appear to be a bunch of jerks.  if you watch the documentary "the end of suburbia" you can get an idea about the aims of suburban development was to create a world without the crowdedness of the city and without the smells of the farm.  what is left is a horribly boring distillation.

dogs and cats have far more political might than the lowly chicken.  it is funny though, i have a friend who's backyard is a stinky mess; there's shit everywhere and he refuses to clean it up... ever.  luckily, my neighbors don't care and enjoy the chickens and bees.  more specifically, they like finding eggs and honey in their mail boxes at random times.

i'll complain and organize and all that stuff if i ever were warned or fined.  until then, i'll just let them think their rules matter to me.  although i think the army's don't ask, don't tell rule is a travesty, when it comes to my hens, it's fine by me...
 
                                          
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to all my collaborators:  i found a good solution!!!  i found a tree trimming service that does several jobs per day.  they will be dropping off a few truck loads of chipped up wood branches.  i'll fill in as best i can and then give it a good mix.

the best part is that i don't need to rent a truck to pick up downed trees and i don't need to collect the leaves.  the wood chips will be totally free.  hopefully i can get enough to mulch between the beds, as well.
 
Brice Moss
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hobbssamuelj wrote:
to all my collaborators:  i found a good solution!!!  i found a tree trimming service that does several jobs per day.  they will be dropping off a few truck loads of chipped up wood branches.  i'll fill in as best i can and then give it a good mix.

the best part is that i don't need to rent a truck to pick up downed trees and i don't need to collect the leaves.  the wood chips will be totally free.  hopefully i can get enough to mulch between the beds, as well.


do ask the tree trimmers if they know weather the tree's they are trimming have been sprayed,

round here the tree trimming services that keep the roads clear are more than happy to give away slash but the county sprays herbicides roadside to try keeping the blackberry down so if I took a load of that it would kill all my clover
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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I may be able to help a little.  I am testing a hugelkutur-ish design, also.  Maybe we could be dual-experimenters. 

I built a test bed 300 feet long, 6' wide and 3 feet tall using a blend of brush and shaved wood as the "core."  I added a layer of horse manure, grass clippings and leaf mold.  I then added a layer of compost and topped it all off with a 3 - 4 inch layer of topsoil. 

I have begun transplanting everbearing strawberries, about 500 so far, into it ( I love strawberries as a ground-cover).  They are VERY happy.  I am transplanting herbs (majoram, thyme, chives, etc).  I will have to wait until spring to add other crops because I am running out of time. 

My company works in your vicinity.  I can help you locate the type of horse manure you need.  If our schedule is too tight, though, it might require a little driving on your part. 

 
                              
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hobbssamuelj wrote:
wait, wouldn't wood also cause a nitrogen deficiency?


i think the deal with hugelkultur is that you use large logs.  there's not a lot of surface area around the entire entact log as there is if it's been chipped.  Leaves also will break down fast and have a huge amount of surface area.  the more surface area the faster/quicker it'll suck nitrogen.
 
                              
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hobbssamuelj wrote:
to all my collaborators:  i found a good solution!!!  i found a tree trimming service that does several jobs per day.  they will be dropping off a few truck loads of chipped up wood branches.  i'll fill in as best i can and then give it a good mix.

the best part is that i don't need to rent a truck to pick up downed trees and i don't need to collect the leaves.  the wood chips will be totally free.  hopefully i can get enough to mulch between the beds, as well.


A quick warning here.  I recently got a truck of wood chips delivered to my property as well.  They will bring you a HUGE pile of chips.  If you where worried about not having room for a pile of leaves... the wood chip pile they will bring you will dwarf the leaf mound you where thinking about.  They don't deliver wood chips unless they can get rid of a LOT of them.  At least that's how they do it around here.  Now that I've harped on how large the pile of wood chips will be... .that's not what my problem was.  My problem is I didnt use the chips immediately (aka a day or two).  I let the chips sit for a few days and when I stuck my pitchfork into it a MASSIVE cloud of spores went into the air.  It looked like it had caught fire and was smoldering.  Not all spores are bad for you.  I'd even guess that most spores aren't bad for you.  But constant exposure to lots of fine particulates of anything isnt good for you. 

With different climate, environment, wood type, etc it may be that the situation I found myself in was extreme but I have heard a friend mention trying to get ride of mulch before it molded before and I didn't know what the problem with that was... now I know.
 
Jordan Lowery
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yea i asked if the local trimmers could drop off there load of chips, they said SURE! well... 30 minutes later i have 15 yards of chips sitting in my driveway. and like stalk of fennel said, if you don't get to it asap or let it sit for a long time to decompose. you get massive clouds of spores!

all worth it though!!
 
                                          
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thanks for the tip.  luckily, i can move them all tomorrow after work.  they're bringing me about 2 full-ton truck beds worth, which i think i can handle with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow.
 
Pat Black
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good to hear that's just aged lumber for your garden bed borders.

make sure that truck dumps the wood chips as close as possible to their final location!

one suggestion is that you leave at least one bed as the control and not use the wood in it, so that you have a baseline to see what the effect of the wood really is. wood chip mulch on the paths would look tidy for suburbia.

with a 1000 square foot area, going vertical will give you more yield. arbors and trellises are great, potatoes in barrels, hanging baskets of strawberries, etc.

 
                                          
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got the chips last night.  it's a mix of about 5 yards of finely shredded hardwood and five yards of about 1/4" chipped bark.

i put a bed of the chipped pieces, followed by a layer of chicken manure, layer of shredded wood, and then a layer of tomato vines and other above ground green garden leavings, and then some more shredded wood, and then a few layers of shredded wood and dirt.

that's a good idea with leaving one bed as a control.  on my blog, i detail more about the genesis of the garden.  in april i unloaded about 5 truckloads of free city compost and rototilled it in after the yard got ripped up when a sewer main needed replacement.  the soil before the compost was already black topsoil about 4 feet deep.

also, on the garden size: when finished i'll have 10 5x10 foot beds.  can anyone link to some photos where you might be able to show how people use the arbors with the beds?  i was thinking that i build too high i'll block sun?  my garden plot is only 30x35 feet.

 
Pat Black
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where's Brenda to answer about the arbors? oh well I will do my best to explain. i could not find a picture to help you visualize this.

let's say you have 10 beds, running north - south with paths in between the beds. one idea is to get some cattle panels and some t-posts and cover the north-south path between two beds with an arch of cattle panels. You could use one panel along the close side of each bed in a horizontal orientation. It is attached to the wood of the raised bed with fencing staples hammered into the wood. you want to orient the staples at a 45 degree angle, not straight up and down. the panels are about 34" tall and 16' long. at the top they are attached to the T-posts, that run along the edge of the beds on 4' centers. Now you attach a panel as an arch from the top of one of the horizontal panel over to the other. To attach one panel to another you can use fencing wire (most durable) or black UV stabilized cable ties (easiest, but it's plastic and will last only 5 or so years.) You continue doing this until you have a "tunnel" completely covering the path. So you have two raised beds with an arched tunnel in between. You want the arch to be about 7' high so you can both comfortably walk under it and still comfortably pick the fruit that hangs into the tunnel.

Now, you ask about shade. Inside the tunnel will be the path and it will be in complete shade once the plant canopy covers the arbor. The two raised beds on either side will get either morning or afternoon shade, depending on which side of the arbor it is.

The bed to the east of the arbor will get morning sun and afternoon shade. This is good for crops that like it cooler, such as broccoli, kale, chard, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli raab, lettuce, arugula, mache, tatsoi, sorrel, peas trained up the arbor, etc.

The bed to the west of the arbor will get afternoon sun and morning shade. This bed will tend to run warmer than the other bed. It is great for cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, winter squash, grapes, and gourds, all of which can be trained up the arbor. You can also plant flowering vines such as morning glories to attract pollinators and really make a gorgeous arbor. But you'll get self-seeding morning glories everywhere in subsequent years.

Farther away from the arbor in the west bed would be other warmth-loving plants that can't be trellised, such as eggplant, zucchini and other summer squashes, perennial herbs, etc.

Now this is just the first system to think about. In a separate post I will outline a system of interchangeable hoops and vertical trellises for more vertical gardening, plus season extension. This would be on the beds that are not next to the arbor.

 
Karl Teceno
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I shred my leaves, the neighbors leaves and the Stabucks next door with my push (gas) lawnmower. I add some to the compost bin layered with manure.
I also add two to two and half feet of the shredded leaves to the chicken yard. The chickens destroy them and in a few weeks, I go in and strip the top 2 to 3 inches off the chicken yard and add it to my beds and around the rest of my plantings.
I too live in the city. I have 6 chickens. Legally (for $25 per year!) you can keep up to 6 HENS. We ended up with a bantam rooster. He crows his guts out daily ( he is blasting right now) I was worried about complaints from Starbucks so I went in and did some fishing. THEY LOVE HIM! My wife named him "Fig" and Fig is a rock star!
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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there were two topical articles in mother earth news that i noticed on the website:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/wood-mulch-z10m0hun.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vertical-gardening-zm0z10zhun.aspx
 
Peta Schroder
Posts: 62
Location: Australia
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I have an idea for your pee in bathroom dilemma (I like to keep my bathroom looking pretty too). Take a pretty ceramic urn or vase (not see through basically) and at the bottom put sawdust or wood-based kitty litter. This will absorb the smell. Either top up with the same or sandy soil from the garden. Ask your wife to select the urn based on her decorating preferences.
 
Micky Lee
Posts: 2
Location: San Francisco, CA
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I just got a 80 sq ft plot at a community garden. The beds are raised about a foot. I have been toying with the idea of digging one foot below the surrounding area in my plot so the bed is then 2 feet deep. I thought I'd try to get a bunch of one-foot logs and stack them side-by-side vertically so I'd have a one-foot deep bed of logs. I could fill them in with wood chips, etc. Then spread a bunch of chopped up fungi on top to help inoculate them. Finally, I'd replace the one-foot deep soil that had been there originally.

In a couple of years, it should be a good producer for a number of years afterward.

But is all that work worth a one-foot deep hugel? We're having a drought in California. I think it might be a great idea for me.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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