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Stephen Houser

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since Feb 03, 2015
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Recent posts by Stephen Houser

Jamie Davis wrote:Nitrogen, or as i like to call it, urigation.

My dogs seem to be helping me with that quite a bit.
3 years ago

A few days ago, I had a few tree leads that were leaning over the fence chopped down and mulched up. I had the fellas leave the mulch in the yard because, why throw it away, right? Well, the pile is about 5 feet high and 6 feet wide. The trees (a sweet gum and several elms) were mulched up with all their green leaves still attached, so we have a pretty good amount of nitrogen and a whole lot of carbon in there. Well, the pile is really starting to heat up. I mean really hot. We've had a few gentle rains, and my though is this.... what is it going to take to turn this pile of green wood chips and leaves into compost? I have made black gold in a tumbler before using vege scraps and a cardboard, but this is a whole new world for me. Is it just wishful thinking that I can actually turn this into some good compost?

I'd also like to add that I have a plentiful supply of weeds, grass clippings, and coffee grounds that I can add in. I usually feed these things to the worms in my worm been, but heck, I might give this a try too, escpecially since it is already so hot after one day.

I really look forward to everyone's input on this.

3 years ago
I think I'm going to just bite the bullet and use it. It's got a lot of leaves mixed in with it and had been sitting since October. I turned it today and it is very black and crumbly.

Here goes nothing
3 years ago
We had a terrible ice storm here in Oklahoma this winter that destroyed my bald cypress tree. I had to remove the tree, but I had the tree crew mulch it up and leave it yard. I don't ever want to just throw something that the earth gives me like that into the landfill, but I've heard it isn't good to use with vegetable garden. I have two no till raised beds and am considering using the mulch in them but have heard it's no good for vegetables. What are your thoughts. Should I use it elsewhere?

3 years ago
Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for your reply and input. I would love to have a 6 foot tall Hügelkultur in my yard, but I believe my wife would prohibit that sort of hi jinks.

This project is more out of laziness, experimentation, and having embraced the Permie habit of not throwing out perfectly good yard scraps.

I have several raised boxes already going and growing but like I said, I used Mel's Mix for those which is entirely insourced soil. It uses 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 peet moss. It was a great start into gardening, but after reading this site, I have grown to appreciate the ideals of using and improving what you have on hand.

Lastly, I really, really did not want to do any digging. I pulled up a pretty good swath of Saint Augustine sod a few months back to put in a rose garden and it nearly killed me. Lol This new Hügelkultur went right on top of the grass. I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling it's going to work out great in time, but it is an experiment.

I will keep everyone posted and thanks for all of your great posts and advice.
4 years ago
And John, I read your Hügelkultur article on your blog. Great information. Are you also on the Gulf South?
4 years ago
Now how did you know that I wanted to plant okra? You're a psychic right? Lol. Thanks for the advice.

2) I've found that okra doesn't do very well on a hugelbed, mine does better in the more compacted soil of the regular garden. Same with sweet potatoes, I get one enormous sweet potato that is very fibrous and only good for animal feed.

4 years ago
Hello everyone,

After having great success with the square foot gardening method, and using Mel's Mix, I've decided to take it to the next level and start my first Hügelkultur. We had a strong storm come through New Orleans recently and I had to trim my Chinese elm. I had a ton of branches sitting around, so I figured what the heck.

It's not a huge Hügelkultur and the wood is still green but this is an experiment. I did not dig the sod underneat first but had a bunch of dirt from planting some trees recently. I put that on top as well as some chicken maneur, cow manure and some homemade compost. My wife says it looks like a grave.

We shall see what happens. I'm anticipating that it will break down very quickly as it is very warm and wet here.

Any advice or tips based on my setup and location/climate will be much appreciated.

4 years ago
I would like to thank all of you for your kind advice and input. Your input is most appreciated. The concept of energy intensive ingredients is very enlightening. The main reason for my garden is to Grow food where I can control what goes into it and always have food on hand.

Even with the little arugula and carrots that I have grown so far, it is so nice to be able to just cut it out of the yard.

I have started my own compost and hope to wrap my head around the idea of the soil food web. It is a new concept to me, but it has a real "horse sense" about it.
This is a great forum to learn and I appreciate those who are willing to teach.