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PostPosted: Nov 4th, '15, 13:47 
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I put in a new hugelkutur bed this year that was 180sf. It grew more peppers and toms in 3 months than than the AP grew in 3 years. It is considerable more sf but what impressed me was the flavor and time for maturing/ripening. For 40 bucks worth of compost and free; leaves, grass clippings, cardboard and logs it was way beyond anything I've seen with AP. The AP is a good place to grow spring greens for me.

When is comes to taste and production the dirt wins hands down. I will leave out soil conditions because the new raised bed (40 bucks) was on top of old asphalt and built from scratch with readily available materials. If you have dry sandy unproductive soil it can be done. It was a 10 hr project/experiment started in spring and producing all summer.

I will slightly dismiss rainfall because the logs hold moisture for prolonged periods like a big sponge. I did water this around August about 5 times. This is a raised bed so it won't hold moisture like a sunken log filled bed.

Here are some harvest pics...just a sample

Hot/sweet peppers and huge toms
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The build

Free strawbales
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Free cardboard, logs and debris
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Free browns; leaves, old bales
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Free greens; grass clippings
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Here is the kicker. The normal compost takes a couple years to break down. I topped this with 2 year old leaf compost and Alpaca manure. the plants have instant nutes and something to feed on in future years when the bottom section breaks down.
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New bed in full green...Notice no deficiencies and completely organic.
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Not to take away from AP but this gives you options. There was never a sign of deficiency.

The normal pepper (superhots) of these varieties are about half this size.
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PostPosted: Nov 4th, '15, 15:17 
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PostPosted: Nov 4th, '15, 15:40 
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+1

The Hugelkulture bed looks great :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Nov 4th, '15, 18:27 
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Most interesting.... never heard of that... the buried logs is interesting... I suspect the use of straw bails as edges, is a bit like Air-Pruning and root-pouches..
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PostPosted: Nov 4th, '15, 20:37 
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very good. I'm inspired to build one. I've always noticed how fertile the dirt in the forest is. Makes a lot of sense. BTW, had to look it up, never heard of http://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/ Good bit about some woods being allelopathic (heard someone here use this word before, again did not know what that meant either) Gotta love this place. Thanks for sharing

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PostPosted: Nov 14th, '15, 05:42 
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boss wrote:
very good. I'm inspired to build one. I've always noticed how fertile the dirt in the forest is. Makes a lot of sense. BTW, had to look it up, never heard of http://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/ Good bit about some woods being allelopathic (heard someone here use this word before, again did not know what that meant either) Gotta love this place. Thanks for sharing



I learned about hugelkultur from permies dot com. There are also some discussions about allelopathic wood. I'm my area we have Tree of Heaven which is supposedly one of the worst. Walnut and cedar could be considered allelopathic as well. If you look under these trees not much grows. Not much grows under pines either. It can also be argued that it breaks down because pine needles and pine bark are used heavily in potting soil and mulch.

Another thing to consider would be termites in the warmer climates if placed to near the home or other wooden structures. I have not seen to many theories either way. Lots un-backed paranoia but not examples.

The best use I have seen is in arid climates on hill sides. They make terraced swells to catch rain and hold it longer. I think the would work well for you in the SW.

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PostPosted: Nov 14th, '15, 19:20 
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My beds are a few years old
I filled them with logs, branches,cardboard boxes, weeds and palm fronds.
I also put them on plastic to keep the gum tree roots out
So they became wicking beds too
I put in slotted irrigation half way through so I can water them from below
Also put in a bucket with the bottom cut out in the center of each to use as a compost bin/worm farm
This has a terracotta pot plant saucer as a heavy lid to keep vermin out.
They are doing real well
But the sub tropics means the wood breaks down quickly and the y need topping up.

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PostPosted: Nov 14th, '15, 21:16 
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The best use I have seen is in arid climates on hill sides. They make terraced swells to catch rain and hold it longer. I think the would work well for you in the SW.
Yes, that is what I am thinking as well. Actually turning a whole section of our garden into one of these. I've been building the soil up from the exposed bedrock it once was. It is still only 30 cm deep after a decade. All I need is some spare time :dontknow:

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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 01:20 
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BuiDoi wrote:
Most interesting.... never heard of that... the buried logs is interesting... I suspect the use of straw bails as edges, is a bit like Air-Pruning and root-pouches..
..
.



I had read about strawbale gardens and that was the original plan for this area. It seemed like a cheap alternative for growing over asphalt and not hauling in a bunch of soil. However, after more research, the only pics/vids of successful crops seemed to be in completely broken down bales. The roots looked to be more in the ground below instead of utilizing the bales. The ones that did look successful in 1 yr old bales seemed to rely on heavy fertilizers. The bales were just a form of media.

I did soak the bales in urea and some old miracle bales for a couple weeks to help break them down. Then I planted strawberry's, onions and peppers in them. Here is a pic of them. They never really grew much more than that and showed signs of deficiency the whole season. The plants next to the bales grew slightly better. I think the made use of the ecess nitrogen and air pruning as you mentioned.

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Here you can see some of the peppers in the bales showing deficiency compared to the one in the bed.
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The bales also provided lots of mushrooms (inkcaps) which spread into the bed. The mycelium roots help break down the matter into usable nutrients for plant uptake IMO.
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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 01:29 
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Snags wrote:
My beds are a few years old
I filled them with logs, branches,cardboard boxes, weeds and palm fronds.
I also put them on plastic to keep the gum tree roots out
So they became wicking beds too
I put in slotted irrigation half way through so I can water them from below
Also put in a bucket with the bottom cut out in the center of each to use as a compost bin/worm farm
This has a terracotta pot plant saucer as a heavy lid to keep vermin out.
They are doing real well
But the sub tropics means the wood breaks down quickly and the y need topping up.



After I completed the bed a friend dropped of a bunch of recycled drain pipe. It's not slotted but that's an easy fix. I plan to utilized it next season. I just wish he brought it sooner to place in the bottom of the bed.

It's hard to see but the Alpaca manure was stuffed with redworms. I don't have them naturally in the river bottom but I have tons of nightcrawlers. They have moved into the beds as well.

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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 01:35 
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boss wrote:
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The best use I have seen is in arid climates on hill sides. They make terraced swells to catch rain and hold it longer. I think the would work well for you in the SW.
Yes, that is what I am thinking as well. Actually turning a whole section of our garden into one of these. I've been building the soil up from the exposed bedrock it once was. It is still only 30 cm deep after a decade. All I need is some spare time :dontknow:




Spare time and a buddy with a bobcat! Have you checked the area for Alpaca/Lama farms to get cheap manure?

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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 05:46 
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You're kicking goals there Rairdog AWESOME :headbang:


I've been aware of Hugelkulture for a while now and have found it an interesting process and when we removed 2 large trees a few years ago I thought about putting them into garden beds but the project was too large and it didn't happen.



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 Post subject: ZEOLITE
PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 06:12 
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Listed as the TOP Australian expert in citrus growing, a chap shared his tip for growing the best crop on ABC - TV..

The tip was to mix Zeolite through the garden bed, much like you might mix water crystals..

His observation.. "you will need half the fertiliser"

One assumes that as the zeolite absorbs the nitrates, it holds them against being leached by rain, but will release them when needed..

I have started m8xing zeolite in my hydroponic beds, heeding that experts advice..
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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 06:15 
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BuiDoi you've won me on the Zeolite.

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PostPosted: Nov 15th, '15, 06:25 
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RairdogAP wrote:
........I did soak the bales in urea and ........ Then I planted strawberry's, onions and peppers in them. ....... They never really grew much more than that and showed signs of deficiency the whole season. The plants next to the bales grew slightly better. I think they made use of the excess nitrogen and air pruning ....


One could suggest from these findings, that as the plants in the soil, grew well and possibly like with Air-Pruning by the hay bales, then plants within the Hay-Bale, will do poorly, as they are being Air-Pruned 100%
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