Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Front yard hugelkultur

One of my chickens started to become an escape artist.  The chickens like to hang out on my wood pile.  While there, the barred rock was hopping the fence.  (The wood pile is there from some sweet gum trees that I had taken down last spring.)

I had put the wood here with the intention of splitting it.  I made a few lame attempts to split some of it.  It hasn't dried out enough yet, and it was hard work. 

The solution?  Put in a front yard hugelkultur bed.

I had tomatoes planted here last spring, but they didn't do too well.  This area of the yard didn't get much sun once the leaves came in.  The soil is downright awful here.  It's basically sand.  I put down a few inches of compost for the tomatoes, but I don't think it was enough.  Anyway, I plan on using this for a fall garden. 

I started by raking the area and clearing all of the loose material.  Then I placed the logs on the ground kept them away from the property line.  Next I added compost, five wheel barrow loads. 

Obviously I'm going to need more compost. 

The idea behind hugelkultur is to minimize irrigation requirements.  The wood on the bottom will decompose and in the process become very sponge like.  As a result, it'll hold a lot of water.  Then you plant in the soil/compost above and the plants roots will be able to get the moisture retained below.  It's a popular permaculture concept.  If you think about it, it's how nature works.  A tree falls on the ground and starts to rot.  Insects and fungus help to break it down.  Leaves fall on top of it and also decompose.  Eventually plants grow out of whatever remains.

I'll have to wait and see how it works.  Until then, the wood pile has been reduced in size.  With any luck the chicken will no longer jump over the fence.

One final picture from the front door.  I wonder what the neighbors are going to say about this.

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