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Terraced Beds 1st try project.  RSS feed

 
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hugelkultur
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I’ve attached photos of progression

-Dug terraced trenches

-Added large year old rounds of pine and bay

-topped and packed in smaller rotting chunks of various wood over larger base layer

-Added small layer of fairly fresh fine alder chips as next layer

***That’s what I have done up until now***

Planning to:

-Add a few bags of chicken compost over the top of the previous layers

-Possibly add a bit of soil with the chicken compost to fill the rest of the cracks?

-next, layer smaller alder branches and twigs

-add leaves, grass, ferns, rotted wood duff, and cover with native soil+chicken compost+old potting soil

-topping it off with a layer of alder chips and straw...

Any help or advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. I’ll be charging ahead regardless and just wanted to share and get feedback on the process since it’s my first attempt. Thanks!!



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Cutting steps and saving soil
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Laying the larger rounds
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Large rounds mycelium
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Large 1yr old rounds
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Rotted smaller wood on top
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Rotted small wood
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Rotted small wood
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Small rotted wood flattened with small layer of fresh alder chips
 
Jesse Ray
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hugelkultur
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It’s coming along
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Current state of the beds
 
pollinator
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I would definitely make sure that, before you top anything else up, that you fill in any voids or cavities in your beds. Sub-soil will work.

I would also think about adding greens and more unfinished compost to the pile atop the woody contributions, and make sure that there's a thick enough layer of subsoil and topsoil between the wood and where you estimate the root zones of your plants will be.

If you need more soil volume, what I like to do is dig the paths around my hugelbeet down as far as I need to and fill them up with woodchips, especially if it gets really damp, or if you experience prolonged damp. It gives soil fungi and bacteria a place to thrive, as well as being habitat and food for a whole host of wood-decomposing soil critters. For me, the worst bit about it, which really isn't, is that every couple of years, the paths need to be dug out and the chips replaced or they turn into garden pits.

What I experienced myself, and what I hear a lot about from others, is that it is really important to make sure there's a thick enough soil layer between the wood and the air. I didn't, and I was having to water because the pile was constantly drying out.

Also, if you have a dry spell, especially while it's still getting established, I would consider wrapping the sides to prevent wind dessication.

But thanks for the update. The pictures are awesome. Keep us posted, and good luck.

-CK
 
Jesse Ray
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hugelkultur
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I’ve taken your advice... added today 400 gallons of soil on top of the existing layers plus 4 bags of chicken compost and tamped it in with a digging bar to fill any empty spaces. I’ll still be adding 2-3 feet of soil mix on top of smaller sticks and twigs, tall grasses,maple 🍁 leaves, ferns, straw, and anything else green I can find.

I also braced the downhill edge of the terrace with 8ft metal fence posts and will stack larger Alder logs across the lower 2 feet of the bed in hopes of drilling out sites for some mushroom plugs!🤞🏻

Thanks for any input

Onward!
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350 galons of used potting soil
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Additional 200 galons of sub soil and 4 bags of chicken compost tamped in with digging bar.
 
Jesse Ray
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The lower retaining wall of the upper bed will be large Alder logs to drill and plug with mushroom plugs
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Retaining wall of Alder for mushroom plugs.
 
Chris Kott
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That looks awesome.

The reason to fill air pockets is twofold: the more greens in contact with browns, the more soil activity there will be. Also, eliminating spaces makes it harder for burrowing critters to dig out a home in your hugelbeet.

-CK
 
Jesse Ray
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hugelkultur
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Raised up the terraced mushroom wall with some material gained from last years slash pile.

Also added the last layer of fine sticks which will be covered with soil, ferns, maple leaf, tall grasses, and other green waste

Final stage will be planting a cover crop with a mulch layer of straw and fine alder chips plus King Stropharia mushroom inoculant.
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Added alder to pushroom wall and final small stick material to the top of the beds
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Maple leafs from the driveway
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Gold
 
Jesse Ray
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Added a layer of ferns and maple leaves plus some alfalfa meal before the final layer of soil.
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Ferns and maple leaf layer
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Ferns.
 
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You've got a wide range of materials in your beds, probably lots of fungi and microbes, so this might not be an issue for you, but those ferns you're using look like bracken.  Bracken has ptaquiloside which has allelopathic effects on other plants.  It's a very tough plant.  The ptaquiloside is released from rhizomes, stems, and leaves as they break down.  Three years in, there are still some plants that just will not grow in our soil where bracken was cleared - mostly root crops and ornamental bulbs.  Fruiting plants like tomatoes and squash were fine right from the start.  Our irises struggled on pathetically and this year started to look okay.  Our soil is extremely poor to begin with, so you may not have any problems.  I'd go easy with it though :)
 
Jesse Ray
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Jan White wrote:You've got a wide range of materials in your beds, probably lots of fungi and microbes, so this might not be an issue for you, but those ferns you're using look like bracken.  Bracken has ptaquiloside which has allelopathic effects on other plants.  It's a very tough plant.  The ptaquiloside is released from rhizomes, stems, and leaves as they break down.  Three years in, there are still some plants that just will not grow in our soil where bracken was cleared - mostly root crops and ornamental bulbs.  Fruiting plants like tomatoes and squash were fine right from the start.  Our irises struggled on pathetically and this year started to look okay.  Our soil is extremely poor to begin with, so you may not have any problems.  I'd go easy with it though :)




Oh dang... well I didn’t put a ton... only about an inch or two layer underneath the maple leaves. Hopefully the chicken compost and worms I’ll be adding can help to them break down into something more inert. 🤞🏻
 
Jan White
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Jesse Ray wrote:

Jan White wrote:You've got a wide range of materials in your beds, probably lots of fungi and microbes, so this might not be an issue for you, but those ferns you're using look like bracken.  Bracken has ptaquiloside which has allelopathic effects on other plants.  It's a very tough plant.  The ptaquiloside is released from rhizomes, stems, and leaves as they break down.  Three years in, there are still some plants that just will not grow in our soil where bracken was cleared - mostly root crops and ornamental bulbs.  Fruiting plants like tomatoes and squash were fine right from the start.  Our irises struggled on pathetically and this year started to look okay.  Our soil is extremely poor to begin with, so you may not have any problems.  I'd go easy with it though :)




Oh dang... well I didn’t put a ton... only about an inch or two layer underneath the maple leaves. Hopefully the chicken compost and worms I’ll be adding can help to them break down into something more inert. 🤞🏻



Yeah, I underestimated their effects and used them as mulch EVERYWHERE the first year here :(  Just couldn't pass up that much biomass.

You're putting a tonne of good stuff in your beds, so I bet it will be okay.  Maybe wait a year or two to see how it goes before adding more, though.
 
Chris Kott
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Maybe Dr. Redhawk will chime in on this one, but I would suggest to maybe harvest some soil from where the bracken has broken down, or make sure that you have some really old bracken mixed in.

My thought here is that if it's well on it's way, the decompositional critters that eat the bracken will be present in quantity, and with bracken in different stages of decomposition, I'm sure there will be enough food for them to potentially accelerate its natural rate of decomposition.

-CK
 
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Jan White wrote:Bracken has ptaquiloside which has allelopathic effects on other plants.  It's a very tough plant.  The ptaquiloside is released from rhizomes, stems, and leaves as they break down.  Three years in, there are still some plants that just will not grow in our soil where bracken was cleared


Crap...  So I guess I shouldn't use it in my weed tea compost water then
 
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I don't have much to add except that I think what you did is awesome.
 
Jesse Ray
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I was able to remove the ferns from the lower bed as I hadn’t added the final layer of soil. We’ll see if anything performs different.

I added about a pound and a half of worms and seeded a cover crop, so done for now!

Can’t wait to watch them change!

On to the next one.
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All finished up and ready for winter
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Cover crop
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Before and after
 
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