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sawdust and comfrey

 
heather barna
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Hi there,

We're gearing up to build our first hugelkultur beds next week (in Quebec Canada) and have lots of white oak sawdust (from a woodworking shop).  Would it be helpful to throw this in the mix, and if so should it go in with clippings and leaves around the logs/ branches?   Or does it add so little nutrient/ structural value that we'd be better off using it for the paths between beds?

Does it make sense to integrate animal manure with the sawdust to help with decomposition, or should we just keep the manure for the upper layers?

We also have access to lots of comfrey leaves (which I understand to be great for accelerating composting).  Where would they best go in the layers?

Thanks so much, I'm very excited about this project!
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 186
Location: Quebec, Canada
15
forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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heather barna wrote:We're gearing up to build our first hugelkultur beds next week (in Quebec Canada) and have lots of white oak sawdust (from a woodworking shop).  Would it be helpful to throw this in the mix, and if so should it go in with clippings and leaves around the logs/ branches?   Or does it add so little nutrient/ structural value that we'd be better off using it for the paths between beds?


I see no issues of putting the sawdust amongst the logs, but you might like to save it for a top layer after planting and along pathways. 

heather barna wrote: Does it make sense to integrate animal manure with the sawdust to help with decomposition, or should we just keep the manure for the upper layers?


I prefer it on the upper layer so that when it decomposes, the rain washes the nutrients into lower layers.

heather barna wrote: We also have access to lots of comfrey leaves (which I understand to be great for accelerating composting).  Where would they best go in the layers?


Depends on how much you have of it. I prefer it as a cut & drop mulch as it will fend off the weeds and still provide nutrients as it breaks down.  If you really have too much then by all means use the extra as a lower layer in your bed.

We have done tons of work pn our property with hugel culture terraces, wood chips, manure and leaves....



We are in Quebec too. Look for me on FB.

I am sharing our story in this thread:
Go Permaculture Food Forest - our suburban permaculture journey
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 186
Location: Quebec, Canada
15
forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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One thing about the sawdust, when wet it could mat and prevent the rain from soaking in. I had used fairly fine wood chips and to resolve this issue, I also chopped and dropped (whatever I could find) around my sea buckthorn (seaberry) plants above the fine wood chips.  This solved the issue of matting and the finer wood chips started composing quickly and I was able to hold in the moisture even though we had a much drier year than usual.
 
heather barna
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[thank you for all the great advice.  we assembled our hugelkultur and are watching it excitedly (for what I'm not sure).  We integrated sawdust but not comfrey in the end.  Congrats on your amazing beds.  What value does the seaberry add?  I'm not familiar with that plant.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Heather,
Seaberry is a powerful medicinal high in vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids.  It is also cold hardy,a nitrogen fixer and deer resistant....in short it's one of those permaculture wonder plants (like comfrey)!
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 186
Location: Quebec, Canada
15
forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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Sea buckthorn (seaberry) plants are extremely versatile. The flavourful citrus tasting berries can be eaten fresh, can be made into jams/jellies, syrups, made into wine, used in ice cream & baked goods, blended with other fruit juices, fruit infusions etc...  The fruit after juicing can be dried and used as a tea, The leaves can be used for tea and the taste is like a green tea. Also the leaves can be dried, grinded or powered and added to soups etc...  It thrives in cold climates and there is no issue of spring late frosts and the berries are ripe in late August early September depending on your zone. 

Two possible negatives, depends how you look at it:
- it spreads by new shoots so they need to be pruned at the ground each year or else you have a thicket, but if you want a great deer barrier, then this would be a positive. 
- it has thorns, but some varieties have less thorns

One must choose the right location because of it's spreading tendencies if the new shoots are not pruned each year.  To have fruit, you need both a female and male plants  I am growing mine like trees instead of a thicket form.

Our story in this thread:
Go Permaculture Food Forest - our suburban permaculture journey
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