Here is my attempt at this BB, I built it up as high as I could on a tractor
with front end loader, and then hand digging a trench around it. I cheated, in that the trench I dug to make it at least 7' high isn't all the way around, because I built this on a slope, so there would be a whole lot of digging on one side. So if I need to make the trench around the whole thing, I will do that. But at least a section of it is at least 7' high. I tried to show that in the photos.
I actually started this last fall, but couldn't complete it in time for other projects that needed to be done before winter, then this year I couldn't get to it until now while I had the week off. Really all I had done was the 1st layer of wood
, and a little bit of dirt. Which got kicked out by my chickens
haha. You can see in one older photo a tan canvas shed off in the distance (which later became a greenhouse
coop) and then the canvas in a big pile in a newer photo, showing the passage of time. The land I built this on was my parent's before mine, and my Dad kept a "compost pile" out back in the woods. At least that what he called it. It was really a giant pile of bark scraps from firewood
cleaned out from the wood stove
, extra dirt and other stuff he pile up and left for years and years. It was sort of already a hugel bed, just way out of the way to be useful for me. So I moved that dirt (which had a lot of bits of bark and other wood partially decomposed in it already) to build this hugel bed. I thought I had a photo of it, guess not, sorry. I moved all I could and dug a trench around some of it to reach the 7' mark.
For what I planted, I mixed a bunch of mixes. Prairie moon's "insectopia mix"
, Johnny's select beneficial insect mix & hummingbird mix, a lupine mix, some seeds I gathered from cleome & wild mustard (I think) from around my house last year, 3) 15g secale multicale rye packets (which I have pictures of earlier in this thread), some crowns/root pieces from a couple of big comfrey plants and some Sunchoke
tuber pieces. This was the wrong time of year to plant most of this I think, and the wrong time of year to try and dig out the sunchoke tubers to plant elsewhere. I also planted some sunflowers, and I'm sure I am forgetting something. The different mixes I used have some overlap, but the prairie moon mix by itself had like 40 different varieties, mostly flowers but also some grasses and a "cover crop" variety of wheat. In the photo I have a container of field peas that I was going to mix with oats in case my main mix didn't cover the whole thing, but I ended up not needed it.
, it was mostly chicken
bedding from the greenhouse
, which started from grass clippings and pine shavings, some of it "fresher" and not so broken down. But I also used fresh cut weeds to sort of hold the mulch in place, some stalks of other plants that have been sitting around outside for at least a season, and dried grass clippings. In the photo I also have a pile of branches that I thought I would use to pile on top of everything to hopefully hold it together, but I decided I didn't need it. I could be wrong haha. If I seem light on the mulch I was afraid to put too much on there, smothering the seeds I planted.
Almost forgot about the wood I used, most of it was dead elm (I think it was elm) that fell down along the tree line. Some of it was dead elm that I cut down. I also used some eastern red cedar branches to help hold things together.
It's not pretty, but hopefully it looks better once things start sprouting on it.
Also, sorry, I misread the instruction of "three pics of three different stages" so I might not have enough photos.
The following two photos are from last late summer/fall, in the first one maybe you can see the stakes with white string outlining where I later laid the wood. Along the tree-line in the distance you can see the same type of standing dead trees that I used for the main bits of wood.
And here I have the first layer of wood
And this is two days ago, there is some dirt in with the wood, most of it was dug out by the chickens
haha, but they replaced it with their manure, so that's ok I guess.
The first loads of dirt, with more wood piled on top
Same stage, but different angle
Second round of dirt and wood topping.
This is where I missed a few stages of taking photos, but here you can see the bits of decomposed bark and other wood that was already in the dirt I was piling up.
And this is the final height, before mulch
Now with the mulch (and a chicken
trying to mess up all my mulch, like everywhere else in my yard.
trying to show off the height of the thing, that 2x2 pole leaning up against the mound is just under 94" long.
This is what I planted, the upper left on the table is the sunchokes, below that is the comfrey crowns, and on the right are the different mixes.
These are the different types of mulch.
The next time I build one of these this high, I am renting an excavator.