It’s been such a lousy growing season for me this year. Still unsure of why so many things failed. My suspicion is that the straw mulch must have had herbicide residue. That, and the fact that so many of the things that have been done to establish permaculture features haven’t had long enough to develop to be what they will become in time.
Though, I have to say that the first year of the #1HugelkulturBed, it was planted and had fairly good success; especially with beets and chard.
At any rate, the thought now is to devote much of ongoing efforts to developing soil to be healthier and able to retain more of the limited water that arrives in this hot, hot desert. Hopefully over-watering won’t be quite such an issue; it may have been part of the trouble too.
So, time for another Hugelkultur element in the #SouthFortyTriangleLot next to the Plum tree. A #SquashPit (see embedded video at the end for a how-to) was ‘planted’ there at the beginning of the growing season and when I dug up to it for the new trench, it was full of worms. The squash pit is just in front of where the yellow watering wand is stuck in the blocks to mark it.
First thing was to dig a trench. Second thing was to use the Pyracantha debris in the bottom of the trench as it is very prickery and not fun to deal with on the surface layers later on.
Part of why a trench is dug is to give you the dirt you need for adding over the wood and other materials. A Hugelkultur structure can be built from the ground up if you have other dirt to use. More dirt would have been nice, but it will settle in time and there are all of those wire rounds with composting material that can be used to fill in some of the holes. This is all that the Pyracantha debris, that was sitting on the sticks, amounted to after it was lopped down. It was put in the trench first. It was still somewhat ‘green’ so will add some nitrogen for breaking down the other wood.
Next the sticks were added.
The littler ones are useful for filling in gaps.
Watermelon, pumpkin, and tomato vines that were pulled to make the trench were added atop the sticks. More nitrogen to activate things.
The stuff from the front yard that was just sitting in the #TriangleRaisedBed waiting for this build was brought over to add over the sticks before covering with the trench dirt.
It’s taller than it looks in this image. This was after using all of the trench dirt. More dirt would have been better. I think the things decomposing in the wire rounds will make a nice topping in the not to distant future.
It got watered in to help the dirt settle some and to start activating things.
Both of the doggies love when dirt gets dug so they can hunt for grubs, which were many.
And this critter was burying itself in the straw until I disturbed it to try to take an image. It flew off and came back to burrow into this mulch; looking for a place to lay some eggs I presume.
#4HugelBed is complete for now. Hopefully this will act as a water sink next to the Plum tree and be another place with lots of nutrition (eventually) for planting. Hugelkultur building is a great way to keep wonderful resources out of landfills and be better utilized (here) for an eventual, hopeful food forest.
The moral of this story is: