Gardening Adventures – Hugelkulturs and Strawbale Gardening

It’s been a few years since I gardened seriously, but with my growing interest in health and wellness I want to get back into it.  My beds are depleted or overgrown with weeds, so I’ve been looking for solutions and came up with a few different ones that I am trying out.  I’ve thrown out conventional gardening, and don’t care what other people think.  I’m living life on the wild side!  ; )

I’ve been working at it through the depression and anxiety.  I can’t get much done in a day, and it’s been overwhelming to say the least.  I’m so grateful for a group of women who came to help me out on Saturday.

Redoing the flower bed.

I redid this bed.  The bottom two layers of bricks had sunk into the ground so there wasn’t very much dirt to plant in.  The bed is on the south side so it constantly dried out.

Hauling in manure for the garden.

I’ve hauled in many loads of manure of all sorts, but mostly bedding from bull calves.  There is a little barn down my driveway where I go with the little wagon and pull it back.  This wagonful is from my parent’s petting farm.

Gardening

I’ve also hauled many loads of dead trees from the pasture behind my house.  It’s a small trailer, and not much fits in at a time.  But the dogs love it cause it means they get to on many walks.

Laying out the cardboard.

I turned this bed into a hugelkulture, which literally means hill garden.  Traditional hugelkultures can be up to 6 feet tall.  This one is flat.  The first layer is cardboard to suppress the quack grass.

Hugelkulture emulates nature by copying it.  Trees die, fall over and eventually rot.  The humus that is created is rich and nutrient dense.  A hugelkulture a mound of trees covered by soil.  The trees will rot over the years produing wonderful soil.  A dead tree is sponge like, and holds a lot of water.  This is where I first heard of hugelkulture.  The link takes you to a forum on permies.com.  http://www.permies.com/forums/f-117/hugelkultur

The start of my hugelkulture garden.

The next layer is dead trees and branches.  I got my uncle to cut fallen tress into 4′ lengths.

A thick layer of straw went over the trees.  Over the trees went a thick layer of bedding straw/manure.

Almost done.  Just want to add a bit more soil to the top.

The finished bed.  On top of the straw is a thin layer of dirt.  I want to add a bit more to cover most of the straw. I’m having a hard time hauling the soil in the little wagon because it is so heavy, and a distance away. 

Gardening

This is my other raised bed.  Once this one is done, it will look more like a traditional hugelkulture.  Steep, sloped sides.  I’ve very curious to see how things will grow in it.  I put in a few peas on Tuesday.

I made new compost bins this year.

A serious gardener needs to compost seriously, so I moved my compost piles to a better location, and in a system that makes sense.

Helping me haul bales for strawbale gardening.

The boys got a few rides.

Strawbale GardeningI’m also trying straw bale gardening this year.  I got some bales from my parents that had been sitting out for year.  I tried to condition them, but either I was to impatient or they conditioned themselves by being out for a year.  I planted 3 potatoes, 2 swiss chard, and a short row of peas so far. 

Rainy Days

It’s been raining off and on for the past couple of days.  It’s perfect to get the hugelkulture settled and well soaked.

Samuel

Mr. Sam I Am is in quarantine after helping out with the gardening.  Once he dries off and loses the dirt, he can join me and Hephzibah again.

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