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my hugelkultur goof-up - next steps?

 
Posts: 151
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
3
dog trees bee
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I built my first hugelkultur bed with what was on hand, not a lot of wood but a lot of brush (several layers, small branches/twigs, cardboard, leaves, dirt and mulch on top. Then I planted. This is my experimental bed so I was just planting for pollinators. I put some dill, parsley, chamomile, rosemary, sweet pea and then some of my California native plants, coyote mint and native fuschia, oh and native strawberries. I sowed some sunflower seeds and milkweed seeds.

At first everything looked great. Seeds started to pop up. Bug activity increased. It has been planted for a little over a month now and I don't think anything has grown at all. I am starting to think that I don't have enough dirt on top. I am not sure if I should just let it go and see what happens or move the plants and add more dirt and start over. Any thoughts?

 
pollinator
Posts: 11804
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1057
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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In a dry climate, hugelkultur will dry out and growth will cease, in my experience.

 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 151
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
3
dog trees bee
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Well I just went out there and stuck my finger in the bed all around it is still damp. Stuff is still alive. Maybe I just expected too much growth in the first month?
And I found a strawberry forming on one of the native strawberry plants so that is good. Maybe I just need to be patient and remind myself that the main purpose of these first few beds is just to build soil.


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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11804
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1057
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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It's possible there's a lack of nitrogen because of all the small sticks, etc. So you might want to try diluting urine and sprinkling that around. I think people recommend 1 part pee to 10 parts water.

 
Every time you till, you lose 30% of your organic matter. But this tiny ad is durable:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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