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Starting the second keyhole bed

 
master steward & author
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Location: Left Coast Canada
3823
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
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Over the winter, I hope to build my second keyhole garden.  This time taking everything I learned from my first keyhole garden and making this one so much better.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • the sides of the bed are far too short.  I want them at least waist high.


  • Taller sides will make it easier to keep the chickens out and harvest the veggies.  This will also allow more room for filler material like a hugelkultur, and if I put the filler in over the rainy season, it will be moister for when we put the soil on top.  Given that the harvest produces lots of extra organic matter, I think starting it now is a good idea.  


  • I didn't get the filler material wet enough to hold moisture as well as I wanted


  • Winter rains will help with this.


  • wattle walls work surprisingly well - but would work better if the posts were stronger


  • To that end, I started making posts.  I'm experimenting with a tool called a froe and am trying to rive a cottonwood tree I chopped down (so I could destroy a nasty tent caterpillar nest).  




    I really don't think I have the hang of it as the froe kept wondering to the side. But I have a few posts and plan to try a different kind of tree to see if that makes things easier.





  • The compost bin was too small


  • It just filled up way too fast for us, I've had to build it up to make enough room for compost until we can make the new bin.



    We considered making this next one out of rock (there certainly is enough of it about) but decided to construct it out of compostable materials so that it will be easier to break apart and rebuild in 5 to 10 years.  
     
    r ranson
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    Posts: 16256
    Location: Left Coast Canada
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    books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
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    Here's some instructions on using a froe.



    For logs, the split is started with an axe or wedges and is oriented in the brake so that the split is close to parallel to the ground. With the froe blade centered on the log and parallel to the ground, drive the froe into the log with a wooden mallet and then lever the froe to advance the split. As the split advances, use a wedge behind the froe so the split does not close on the froe.

    If the split starts to wander off-center you can re-center it as shown in the diagram below. Be sure to keep the tip of the advancing crack close to or directly on top of the lower support log for this correction process and press down on the lower part as you rotate the froe to advance the split.



    and a post about riving black Locust
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 254
    Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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    I am very tempted to try making one of these beds!
     
    We should throw him a surprise party. It will cheer him up. We can use this tiny ad:
    Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
    http://woodheat.net
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