Skip to main content

Giving Hugelkultur a try

I've done some whining on this blog about how difficult keeping things watered here is. Partly it's due to our terribly sandy soil, partly due to the soaker hoses being tempermental, partly I need to get out there and amend things.

I had noodled around with the idea of using an old technique, bandied about a lot by permaculture folks, of hugelkultur. Basically, you're making a sponge of wood and biomass under the growing layer. Since we have both overly permeable soil and a bit of old wood and brush lying about, I got some help from Eric and made an experimental bed.

First, we dug out the soil about 18" and set it aside on a tarp. Then we layered logs and pieces of logs on the bottom.

Over that went branches of the plants we'd cut down a few weeks ago, then a layer of fresh chicken manure and bedding, and then those layers were watered down.

Over those went the totally uncured material from the compost bin. Turns out, if you never ever water it, and it dries out, you're not composting, you're preserving. Amazing things there were. This time, they got watered. Maybe those paper coffee cups will finally break down.


Finally, the soil got shoveled back on top. I stopped every time a "layer" was completed, shoveling the soil on in flattish bands, and wetted each one as well as I could. It wasn't 100% effecive, as the soil shed some of the water, but it seemed a good idea.

When it was a large, flat mound, kind of like a stubby mesa, the experimental planting began. I started seeds a while ago, and they have been doing well, but very much needed to be moved from their six-packs.

Half of each six-pack went into the new bed, half into the barely prepared rest of the bed.

During the work, I'd discovered a handful of self-seeded kale or broccoli or something, right where the handle of that hand fork is. That will provide yet another point of data. I'll have to keep hand-watering this bed until it rains, partially because it's not in shape for a new irrigation system, and partially because I apparently shoveled the soaker hose in half while removing it.

I also noticed these.

It seems ages ago since I planted these, but the brussels sprouts are finally sprouting. I doubt that they'll be any good, but some day I'm going to figure out how to grow them in our climate!

So that moved about 1/6 of the broccoli and kale I'd started. I suppose tomorrow I'll get out there and prep and transplant the others, plus the leeks and onions. I can't wait for the easy days of winter gardening to really begin here.


Popular posts from this blog

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

Wingman use to call me many things. Obstinate. Overcritical. Certainly bitchy. I even recall on our wedding day that he called me "beautiful". But that was a one-time happening, and I don't recall him ever crooning Eric Clapton"s "You Look Wonderful Tonight" after that. So it comes as no surprise that he never called me "sexy".

And I get it.  When I went to school in NYC, a couple of my friends were stopped by Eileen Ford and asked to come to her agency to model.  They were cute, and one was even, in an exotic way, sexy even back then.  But not me. I was and always will be, fine with how I look.

There were some things over the years that got me when I stopped dying my hair and grew it out to donate for a wig.  As part of a lecture that I did on The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer, I had my beautician come in and cut my waist-long hair short. The following Sunday at church, I was a Eucharistic Minister, which at a Catholic Mass is a re…

'Cause Baby You're A Firework. Come On Show Them What You're Worth

Five years ago today, I stood in a hospital room strewn with used syringes, rubber gloves and other medical waste, looking at the lifeless body of the man that I shared a life with for over 30 years. I should have been thinking of family, love and loss.  Instead, my first thought was, "Wow, I'm a widow now." Pretty pathetic in retrospect, and when Wingman referred to me just before I left him as "The Bitch", probably not too far off the mark.

But in time-warped speed just a half hour before that, I had already talked to the hospital twice, woken son #3 up to go over to the hospital with me, called Wingman's brother on the way, fought with a gimpy legged night watchman who wouldn't let us in the hospital, and finally took "that meeting" in a small private room where the doctor told my son and I that they did everything possible, but unfortunately (UNFORTUNATELY???) Wingman had passed. My brain was filled with what to do, who to call, …

But She Use To Have A Carefree Mind Of Her Own, With A Devilish Look In Her Eye

The first time I went out with Wingman, he remarked about how much I reminded him of his mother.  When we finally met, I just didn't see it: she was a tall, chain-smoking blonde, with a Lauren Bacall-esque voice, while I considered myself just an average size brunette with no distinguishable qualities.

She and I began our own relationship with stories about our lives, and she won every round of "Can You Top This". At 10 years old, she helped deliver her brother when her mother went into labor at home. Later, her alcoholic mother walked out on the family and was never seen or heard from again, so she dropped out of school to help. At 19, she and her husband eloped, and thought no one knew.  A photographer however, took a picture of them outside City Hall which became the cover of the afternoon edition of the NY World Telegram. (Oops.) A couple of years later, her very pregnant self drove her father and his equally pregnant girlfriend to City Hall in Newark to MAKE them get…