Saturday, April 05, 2014


I first heard about Hugelkultur (HOO-gul-culture) while perusing Gardenweb forums awhile back, but at the time didn't give it too much thought. We had a garden area, I figured that was all we needed.
(It was all my Grandparents/parents ever had.)

Fast forward - or, no, wait, go back a good many years ago, not long after we bought this place, before we even thought about beginning to garden, we did some yard cleaning. There had been a strip of "jungle", random trees and brush, along the middle of the back yard, actually all around the Pecan tree. I'm not sure what it's purpose had been, but it divided the yard in half, and I wanted it gone.

Rather than do the hard work ourselves, as we later learned to do, J decided he needed to rent a bobcat to do the work. So, he rented a Bobcat, shoved everything down, then dug a hole and buried all the detritus and covered it.
Now, fast forward about a dozen years, all that crap broke down and rotted away, causing a hole in the back yard. Derp!

A few years ago, not long after we'd first started gardening, I can't recall how I chose the spot I did, but right in front of the area where-the-hole-developed, I had J build a box on the ground for me to plant tomatoes.
It's hard to remember, but I believe it was before we had our current garden spot, and I'd planted a crop of corn down by the pool, and tomatoes up in the yard closer to the house.

We just built the box on the ground and I chopped up the grass/weeds with a shovel and turned it into a planter bed, but not really a raised bed.

I think I had tomatoes in the box for a couple of years, then we made our current garden and iirc, the box was empty for awhile.

When the hole developed, I just picked up the front edge of the box and flipped it over backwards and it pretty much framed the hole almost exactly.

Because my tomatoes had done pretty well up here in the past, and my blueberry bushes have not done very well down in the back, I decided I would fill in the hole with the soil from the Potato Condos and move my blueberry bushes into it.
A month or so ago, me and Kev had dug up about half of one of the Potato Condos and had relocated the soil into this box. But then the weather turned off cold and nasty again and we didn't mess with it again for awhile.

Yesterday, one of the FB pages I follow, Homestead Survival, had posted about Hugelkultur and I was looking at it, and J - looking over my shoulder - asked me what it was. I answered him, and that was that.

Except it wasn't. Later he was sitting in the livingroom and hollered out, "What was that thing you were saying about earlier?"  I told him, spelled it (after googling the spelling myself).

Later he came in here and starts talking about he thought that sounded like a good idea to do out in the side yard where that tree had come down a couple years back and there was still all those giant logs sitting out there, and the terrain there is so hilly and holey, that could save us having to buy and haul in a ton of dirt.
(I was going to save us from buying/hauling in any dirt by just not buying/hauling in any dirt, and leaving the place hilly and holey. We don't do anything with that part of the yard, except mow it. I still have "plans" I'd like to get a couple of goats and it'd be a fine place for them...)

Anyway, we walked out there and looked at it, and we'll probably end up doing it later, if for no other reason than to dispose of all those giant logs we really can't do anything with. Plus it would help fill in the yard there.

Then he nodded towards a pile of brush and logs that I have been intending to relocate for awhile but never got around to it, and said, that stuff'd be great in your box back there. And I was like, oh snap! that's true!

It was cool this morning, but this afternoon was sunny and nice, not too warm, and I went out and dug what soil we had already put in the box out.
I didn't look up the Hugelkultur again this morning, and had apparently mis-remembered the order of directions, so I ended up putting down a layer of leaves first, before the wood, but oh well, it'll probably be okay.

Then Kev helped me load up all the brush and limbs and stuff from the pile and we filled the box with it.

J mentioned burying the box, too, so he may have had the idea of doing the 6 foot tall hill/mound like most of the hugelkultur sites talk about, but I think I'll just start with this smaller version.

We watered it down good, and then started adding the soil back on top of it.

Once it was filled in with all the wood, it didn't take all that much soil to finish up. If I'd filled in those Potato condos last year with wood first, I probably wouldn't have had all that trouble trying to fill them up with so much soil.

Speaking of potatoes, the soil we'd added to the box a month or so ago had come from the Potato condos. I mentioned back then that we'd probably end up growing potatoes along with whatever ended up getting planted in the box.

But I didn't expect to see a potato already growing this soon.

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the box after we covered the wood in was time to get Ryan up, and I cooked dinner while he and Kev changed the oil in his car before he had to go to work tonight.

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