Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hugelkulture Herb Bed Spiral in pictures.

First some introductory text.

Had quite a bit of decayed wood from cutting dead trees for winter heat.  The decayed outer bark and wood were split off the dead heart wood.  Ended up with about a 1/3 cord stack of decayed wood from the winter heating season.

What to do with it?

There was a fair amount of dead pole timber lying on the ground where the dead trees were harvested for firewood.  All came from a mostly oak forest turning toward old growth.

The idea was to use the pole timber in fort style for support, and the decayed wood inside "the fort" to prevent the bed from quickly "slumping" downhill.

About eighty gallons of river pea gravel, an accumulating "waste product" from a local rock and gravel operation, was used to fill the voids and hold the decayed wood in place.  Pea gravel is at least as good as decayed wood for holding moisture.

The sandy soil from digging the trench for the fort poles is the first ground contact layer.  From there, in order of ingredient volume, it is decayed wood, pea gravel, biochar (another excellent moisture grabber that retains bulk), Global Harvest soil rejuvenator, cal-phos and Sea-90.  Then on top a sprinkling of bark from the log splitting, newly emerged grass, and composted horse manure.

Herbs were then seeded, with a few native herbs transplanted from their native habitat on top.

How will it work?  Will it slump?  Will it grow stuff with little watering?  We shall see.

Laying out the spiral from the centerpiece pole..

Installing the "fort" logs in the trench..

Excess from fort logs is next layer above excavated soil..

Then some cal-phos topped with biochar..

Then the first layer of pea gravel..

Next more decayed wood..

Next more biochar mixed with Global Harvest Organics soil rejuvenator (for microbes + composted manure)..

Then more pea gravel and more decayed wood..

Then more biochar mixed with soil rejuvenator, cal-phos and Sea-90..

Then several buckets of bark that had been laying on the ground through the winter..

Then a light sprinkling of biochar and soil rejuvenator mix followed by a top layer of composted horse manure mixed with fresh spring grass..

How well or poorly will this work?  We shall see..

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