Hugelkultur Garden Beds
One of the garden bed methodologies we've learned about is hugelkultur. Generally, this involves burying (below and/or above ground) tree materials, like stumps, trunks or even branches, under your garden soil. Apparently, as the tree material rots, it also becomes very absorbent, and is supposed to help with holding moisture in the garden bed. There is lots of information and videos about it on the Internet, but here is our first attempt at doing one of these. Since we're observing a land sabbath and aren't growing gardens or crops this year, I definitely wanted to start on these while I had extra time.
I decided to just locate the beds as an extension of our main garden area, and here is the first level dug out. I thought using the dug-out dirt as a berm around the bed would help even make it deeper:
After the first digging, in looking at it, and I think even trying it out by putting a stump in place, it just wasn't deep enough, so I dug out another round:
Then, it was time to gather the wood material. For this first bed, I thought I'd go with larger items, and so I went around trying to collect old stumps and similar things:
And here is the bed full. It was like a puzzle trying to place the pieces to fit as tightly as possible:
The plan was to then cover the bed with mulch. I had originally wanted to fill the entire thing with sifted mulch, but realized that was going to take a lot of effort for probably not much gain, since I could fill the bed up leaving 8-10 inches at the top with the wood-chips mulch we get from the landfill, and then sift from there, which is what I did. This is the mulch in place:
And then the sifting process. I used that long board across the bed for sliding the mulch sifter back and forth:
And here it is complete!
Lord willing, I hope to add another bed in front of this one.
We had recently discovered that the area all around our goat sheds, where we put the hay and goat "evacuations" cleaned out from the sheds, with rain water collecting there, and over time, was composting nicely into this fine, fluffy dirt. Some time ago, we were given a composting container; and so I figured, since this goat material seemed to compost well, it was time to get that process going; and here is the container set up, and then a look inside. The container has holes on the sides and the top and bottom pieces:
We thank the Lord for granting us the opportunity to continue on the process out here of trying to grow our own food, and for hopefully new and beneficial ideas; and we thank Him for the physical strength and materials to do these things.