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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old October 2, 2016   #16
jtjmartin
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Default Hugel success

Heavy Virginia clay soil.
Lots of downed trees.
Dry summers.

I decided to try hugelkulture this past fall. It's essentially composting with buried wood. It worked great. Of all the tomatoes I planted, the only ones still alive and producing are the ones in the hugel beds. I'm sold!

Digging more today.

[tried to attach pic but it was upside down]
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Old October 2, 2016   #17
Gerardo
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I'm doing this. We've got alluvial soil for the most part.

Replacing a fuel line on my chainsaw and then it's off to dig graves.
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Old October 2, 2016   #18
jtjmartin
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Here are some pics of a new 24 foot bed. (Sorry - the pictures need to be rotated)

IMG_4868.JPG

IMG_4867.JPG

IMG_4865.JPG


These beds used to have a row of tomatoes in the back. The only tomatoes left are in the hugel beds. The vines are about 10 feet long with the leaves removed except at the top.

IMG_4866.JPG
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Old October 4, 2016   #19
PaddyMc
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That worked VERY well! The biggest, healthiest, squash vines I've ever grown.

For reference, thus was taken July 23rd. This is a single Zapallo Macre plant, planted June 1


The squash were big too-






I'm making a bunch more Hugel beds next year.
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Old October 4, 2016   #20
jtjmartin
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Default Hugel

Wow! That is a big squash?!

A number of people worry about decaying wood robbing the soil of nitrogen. I've noticed that my beds certainly haven't required any additional nitrogen and have needed a lot less water.

Yours need more nitrogen?
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Old October 4, 2016   #21
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Wow! That is a big squash?!

A number of people worry about decaying wood robbing the soil of nitrogen. I've noticed that my beds certainly haven't required any additional nitrogen and have needed a lot less water.

Yours need more nitrogen?
If the wood decays in a slow manner naturally and critters and fungi break it down it doesn't rob the soil of nitrogen as much from what I can tell.
It is when you want to hot compost it is when this happens big time.
This is just from my own observations.

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Old October 4, 2016   #22
jtjmartin
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That makes a lot of sense. Thank you.
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Old October 4, 2016   #23
greenthumbomaha
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Good stuff. I threw in what ever branches I could find on the bottom of my raised beds two years ago when they were filled They are 18 inches deep, and I don't see too much difference in them. I thought the branches take several years to break down in my climate so something to look forward to.

- Lisa
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Old October 4, 2016   #24
PaddyMc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Wow! That is a big squash?!

A number of people worry about decaying wood robbing the soil of nitrogen. I've noticed that my beds certainly haven't required any additional nitrogen and have needed a lot less water.

Yours need more nitrogen?
Not beyond the initial cup of blood meal I threw in the mix when I was filling the hole. I'll be interested to see how that bed does next year.
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