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shannon stoney

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since Apr 22, 2013
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Recent posts by shannon stoney

I ended up digging a shallow trench for the branches, covering them with rotted leaves and grass clippings and piling the dirt back on top. I planted onion sets in the raised bed.
6 years ago
Voles are a terrible nuisance here. They have become so numerous that it is difficult to harvest certain root crops like sweet potatoes, because the voles eat them all! They also devour pea and bean and corn seeds. I think it's a good idea to discourage them as much as possible. I am thinking of getting a Jack Russell terrier specifically for the purpose of getting rid of some of the voles!
6 years ago
I started a hugelkultur bed today, by piling up branches and wood logs in a pile about five feet wide and ten feet long. I have a truckload of leaves and grass clippings to pile over that; then I have to figure out what to put on top. I didn't excavate the spot before building the pile, so I don't have any soil. I am thinking of getting a load of leaves from the city leaf dump to put on top of the leaves and grass clippings. Those leaves have a bit of soil mixed in with them, because of the front end loaders scraping up soil as they push the piles around at the dump.

My question is: how thick does the layer of soil on top have to be? I can get some soil from elsewhere on the farm, but as I don't have any machinery, I will have to do it by hand, in buckets, which would be very slow. What if I just left the leaves and grass clippings to rot down on top of the wood? Would that work? Or do I really, really need some soil?

Here's another idea: I could have pockets of soil in the rotting leaves and I could plant stuff in those pockets of soil. That way, I would not have to cover the entire surface of the hugel with dirt. I could just put it here and there. I know from experience that eventually the leaves will rot down to humus (in about a year) and things will start growing in that humus spontaneously.
6 years ago