Basically, Hugelkultur is a system of layering logs, limbs, compost, leaves, and that sort of stuff to create a compost system a gardener would plant on top of or create a large pile of compost.

Back last year or so, I expanded my compost pile and this year, I reaped the harvest of some really great compost. But the garden is getting bigger, and more compost is needed, and even more in the coming years.

One of the failed experiments was the Branch Office of the Compost Complex, where I piled up branches, threw leaves on them, and waited for the branches to turn into compost. It not only did not happen, but a large pile of branches was the only product.

The next plan of action was to get a wood chipper, which seems to come in two types; very large and very expensive chippers, that work well, but are loud and smelly, and very small ones, that are like oversized plastic pencil sharpeners, which work very poorly and get bad reviews.

My Facebooks friends, when they weren’t referencing Woodchippers in movies like Fargo, and listing items needed to dispose of a body, one of them came up with Hugelkultur.

 Hugelkultur is composting vegetative matter while using it to grow plants. A multi-layered approach, Hugeltur promised to render the Branch Office into soil, and if I wanted, I could grow something on top of it. At this point, I need more compost.

Just as I was about to begin, the thought arrived that this might be the time to take my neighbor up on his offer of free manure from the cow pasture. Away I went, got a load in my truck, and then back to the Compost Complex and the Death of the Branch Office.

Load of manure!
This is the Branch Office when the sun came up this morning.
After clearing all the branches and logs away, this is the area I was going to work with.
This was all the stuff stripped out of the Branch Office
The first layer of logs, if you can call them that, was pushed down in the compost that had formed under the Branch Office. Yes, it had worked better than I thought, but I had no access to the compost.
The second layer was branches, some of them old, some of them new, but the directions said to walk them in, then add grass and leaves, then walk that in, too. Notice the water hose. Moisture is a big part of compost. It’s not a nice neat pile but it’s what it needs to be.
The logs in this layer are more rotted than the first. I added some stuff on the side, larger stumps, and I hope that will start to decompose as well.
This was the end result. I hit it with a lot of leaves and grass, a little manure, then flooded it with water.
The Dung Heap, all the leftover manure. I’ve always heard about these but I have never had one until now.

I don’t have much left over from the Branch Office. What I do have will be made into another Hugelkultur tomorrow, or the next day considering how tired I am right now. But this seems like it will work, and it has everything it needs to do so.

Stay tuned, next April or so, when I start really gearing up for the garden!

Take Care,

Mike

One thought on “Time for a Little Hugelkultur.

  1. Yes, the sticks and twigs in the branch office would take forever to rot for lack of moisture. It’s a tricky balance between not wet enough and flooded but the leaves, grass, and cow poop will hold moisture and speed things up. They’re your ace in the hole.

    Like

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