Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised beds filled with rotten wood.
I am trying one out. The idea is to do one HugelKulture one, and one control one just next to it. I will plant the same things in each bed and try to treat them identically. In a couple of years I will assess which is doing best in a pseudo- science kind of a way.
The theory is that the raised beds will be loaded with organic material, nutrients and air pockets for the roots of what you plant. I have read that as the wood begins to rot it absorbs nitrogen from the soil. However as it breaks down more, it gradually releases that nitrogen back into the soil. So I need to get hold of some manure for this experiment. I will be using pretty well rotted wood, but I don’t want to starve the plants of nitrogen.
I do wonder sometimes what the neighbouring plot owners think.. I see them now and again when I go to fill up the automatic watering system. Or pick out the few bits of bindweed that are trying to establish themselves
The walking onions are doing really well and getting ready to take their first faltering step of the year!
So last year I just grew a bunch of stuff all together all mixed up. The theory behind this is that the different plants with different root structures support and compliment each other. Whilst I am going to carry on with that this year there are a few expensive plants I want to protect a bit more from the clover. So I am growing a few things in pots with the bottoms cut off. Here you can see the Yacon. You can also spot a bunch of other stuff growing around it
So Spring has kind of happened. I have not done much on the plot at all. The clover has survived and is flowering. I am trying to develop a growing system based on a permanent clover ground cover. You can see it growing up the edges of the bed below. The idea is that the clover on the sloping edges of my beds will fertilise the crops that are grown on the flat top of the bed. My beds are about 4ft wide at the base, sloping up to a 2ft growing area at the top.
I just found out about Ground cherries (Physalis Pruinosa) They look like a great tasty, low effort perennial – Just the kind of plant I like.
Got a photo of that shows the shape I have constructed with the paths in between the raised beds.
Chinese Yam (Dioscorea batatas) is a interesting plant. It is a climber and hardy in the UK. It produces a tuber that apparently has a very pleasant flavour that is rather like a potato.
I have not had a chance to harvest any yet, I have been growing this plant for two years.
I have a Siberian Peashrub Caragana arborescens bush. It is nitrogen fixing, and provides a legume which can be a useful chicken forage, or in times of hardship picked and used like lentils. They have ornamental yellow flowers, these are edible too.
I have high hopes of using them as a guerrilla gardening plant, as they would seem like just another ornamental bush.
The Walking Onion Allium cepa
Is a great looking plant. I only had one at the start of the year, so I have not eaten any yet.. I now have three and will get to eat them next year.
It actually does walk! The Onions form on the top of the stem, the weight pulls the plant over, the onion roots and re-grows!