Friday, September 16, 2011

Hugelkultur

The first time I heard the word "hugelkultur", my first thought was "gesundheit!"

Turns out it relates to a type of gardening. A type of gardening that may be very well suited to our area. My friend One Acre Homestead posted a link about hugelkultur on facebook one night and it caught my attention.

The basic idea is to pile up a lot of wood that is starting to rot, cover it with any sod you pulled up, grass clippings, compost and soil and let it continue to rot. It's a bit of a self composting system that actually retains water and can theoretically get you through a drought year with little, or (if you build high enough) even no watering.

Have you seen the latest drought map of Texas?
Oklahoma (where One Acre Homestead moved to when she abandoned us years ago...I'm still bitter) isn't faring any better While we plan to get more serious about rain water collection, a form of gardening that requires less water to begin with would also be very helpful. We gave that a try with our ollas a while back, but I'm liking this new idea too.

We happen to have two beds that are overgrown with pretty thick grass and I'm sure dead wood could be found since the area behind our house looks like this
I'm considering digging down in the overgrown beds, putting in the wood, and then piling the dirt/grass back on top. According to another source I found, it would be good to plant legumes in them at first to balance out any nitrogen loss, but over time it seems like it will be a good solution for good soil and water conservation. The only downside I've read that really concerns me is people saying fire ants take up residence in the beds. I definitely don't like that and am on the look out for a way to possibly prevent it.

In the meantime, I'm getting started on a fall garden in our regular beds. We laid out drip line about 2 years ago that needed some repair, so I got that fixed up. Then I planted 72 sq. ft. of green peas and 72 sq. ft. of green beans. I'm waiting for the local farmer's co-op to get in their fall plants so I can buy some broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage starts to plant and I'll also pick up some onion and carrot seed to get started. I was thinking about planting garlic too, but I'm re-thinking that because it doesn't grow very well if we have a warm spring, and I'm expecting a warm spring.

Gardening, gardening, gardening! I'm excited to be out working in the soil and producing some of our own food again!! Hopefully I have good things to report and posts about canning our own produce in the future!

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