Joanne Gross

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since Nov 08, 2012
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Recent posts by Joanne Gross

What you're talking about sounds like a rock garden, not hugelkultur. A popular way to make a rock garden is to make a berm of soil (you can use your boards to make a raised bed if you want), stick a bunch of rocks on the berm (large rocks are usually partially buried), tuck plants around and in between the rocks, and then mulch with something that looks nice with the rocks, like pea gravel. The rocks hold a lot of heat, reduce water evaporation from the soil, and create warm, protected microclimates that are especially good for things like sedums and Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender. I suppose you could hugelkultur it up by burying some wood and other organic material under a raised rock garden.
7 years ago
Thanks! To be honest, I would have dug them all deeper if that nasty gravel was further down and/or piled the wood higher if I had had more wood on hand. I just sort of went with what I had and tried to make the most of it. I have no illusions of accomplishing a garden bed that never needs to be watered, though -- I just want that bed to retain enough water to support vegetables without having to run the soaker hose on it 24/7.

Good luck with your project, I hope it goes well!
7 years ago
Hi guys,

I wrote a blog about my recent hügelkultur project. You can check it out here.

Thanks!
7 years ago
The only thing I know to do with large amounts of wood ash is make lye.
7 years ago
Please don't plant ivy in the PNW, it's horribly invasive to the point that foresters and volunteers have yearly campaigns to remove it from wild areas. Creeping raspberry, Rubus calycinoides, is a tough, hardy, fairly drought-resistant (once established) edible ground cover that will tolerate partial shade. You could also try native woodland strawberries, Fragaria vesca, and calendula is a cold-hardy self-seeding annual herb that tolerates less-than-great soil and partial shade, and it blooms almost year-round here in the Willamette Valley.
7 years ago
Definitely wait until after you've got the work you want to get done before you use the computer. I've gotten sucked into email and surfing the web just to realize that hours had gone by and I didn't get any work done too many times myself, and I've finally just made the rule that I don't get to sit down at the computer until my chores are done! Sometimes that means emails go unanswered for days at a time and I decided I shouldn't be on any social networking sites like Facebook, which to me isn't nearly as bad as chores going undone. I think it comes down to your personal priorities, doing the highest priority tasks before lower priority ones, and cutting out some stuff that is really a waste of time.
8 years ago
I basically do time blocking. I assign different types of tasks to different times of the day. For example, between breakfast and lunch is "tend the animals and do routine garden maintenance" time, when I do things like feed the chickens, weed, clean stuff, trellis tomato plants, water potted plants, or take the dog for a walk. When things slow down in the garden and the weather gets bad I also use this time to build stuff or repair things for the 'stead in my garage, clean up and sharpen tools, propagate woody plants by hardwood cuttings, study up on stuff that has to do with homesteading, or write up garden plans and ideas for next year. It helps that I live in a place with mild winters, and there are things to do in the garden year-round. After lunch I dedicate an hour or two to working on special projects or bigger tasks around the homestead, including crafts like making soap, and then I have the rest of the day to allot time to do other stuff.
8 years ago
Never mind my previous comment, I didn't read your post thoroughly. I would imaging that the gentler slopes in a curved huglelkulture bed would have less soil erosion that the more angular sides of a flat-topped bed.
8 years ago
It depends on your climate. Raised beds dry out and warm up faster, which is nice if you have heavy soil that stays cold and wet longer than you'd like, but may not be so great if you live somewhere with little rainfall and/or high temperatures. Also, flat beds shouldn't end up as holes in the ground after a couple years with proper soil management, they should stay the same level if you are maintaining fertile soil or end up slightly raised if you are building the soil.
8 years ago