Reading the messages about Hugelkultur got me thinking. I have been clearing the underbrush of an aspen forest here- leaving all the trees as well as most productive edible/wildlife plants. The area is a 5 minute walk from the house and used sporadically as cattle pasture.
So I've now got about 2 acres with about 8-10 big piles of the underbrush (incl roots) 20' across, maybe 6-8' tall. Full of dirt. I initially planned to burn them. But realized that they are now full of frogs/salamanders/snakes and probably birds and mammals- these are just incredibly productive piles.
I'd like to leave them, but would like them to do more than look like unfinished business. They are too far from the house for veggies, as well cattle may damage "soft" plantings. But they remain moist.
Any thoughts on what may may be used as? The cattle and distance factors are making it tough. Any ideas appreciated!
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 8 years ago
If you have a front end loader on your tractor, go turn the piles. Turn them about once a month (make certain they stay moist) and you will have many yards of rich compost in 6 months to a year.
posted 8 years ago
Both compost and nut trees are excellent options, thank you.
For trees (and I collect nut trees and was considering it!) will there not be too much movement from pile settling over the course of a young trees life? I'd fear even root exposure as the pile settles? It's sort of why I've not planned any Hugelkultur plots here, as in my vision they are ideal more for annual plantings rather than perennial/shrub/tree plantings?
when ours and our neighbor's ponds were enlarged in 2009 aspen and alder trees were pushed over and dirt piled on top of them..i was very very pleased the following year to have crops of mushrooms growing from the dying trees under the dirt..so you might get a special surprise this year from your dirt covered brush piles.
aspen are big mushroom feeder trees..if you have more dirt..pile them up with it..and you will have hugel beds..if they are not where you want a garden..put in some fruit trees or bushes, and then put a bit of wire or protection around them to keep the cattle from grazing them.
the buried woody stuff will feed the roots of your trees..also you might want to put in a few NF (nitrogen fixer) plants or DA (Dynamic Accumulator) plants near the bases of your fruit trees.
they will grow like wlidfire in this situation..i have planted fruit trees in hugel beds and they loved it.
you will have little bits of paradise out there
Bloom where you are planted.
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