As I've mentioned, Sir Knight and I are trying something radically different in our garden this year. After many years of traditional gardening, with less than stellar results, we put in our first "Hugelkultur" raised garden bed. A Hugelkultur bed is nothing more than a raised garden bed filled with trees, branches and bushes - in other words, bulky organic material. These beds utilize the composting trees to fertilize the garden, providing a constant source of nutrients for years. The makeup of these gardens also reduce (or eliminate) the need for watering, and if done right, don't require weeding. Or, at least, that's what they say.....
Our new garden is a complete departure from what we've always known! As our Mennonite neighbors till, fence and create perfect rows, Sir Knight and I are busy dragging trees (windfalls from our huge wind storm) up from the woods, digging trenches in our yard and gardening with chainsaws! While their property looks perfectly manicured and tidy, ours looks - well - like a construction zone. Their beautiful shrubs pose a stark contrast to our ragged, shaggy pile of dirt!
And so, we will watch with great anticipation as our garden grows and evaluate the merits of chainsaw gardening....
|Sir Knight cutting the trees into manageable bites|
|Sir Knight had to take a minute to help Master hand Grenade fly a kite!|
|We had a dump truck deliver 12 yards of screened top soil for the top of our garden bed|
|And clover to plant as a cover crop over the entire garden bed|
|Our friend digging our garden bed trench|
|Filling the trench with bulky organic material|
|And filling the trench with soil|
|Adding the screened top soil|
|Our new Hugelkultur bed|
|Sown with clover seed and 8 blueberry plants on top (we will be planting more blueberries)|
Our Hugelkultur bed method:
1. Dig a 2 to 3 foot deep trench (you can build these directly on the ground)
2. Fill with trees, shrubs, branches (any bulky organic material). You can mound the organic material 1 to 2 feet above the ground.
3. Add manure, chicken coup material or other stinky compost (if you have it).
4. Pile dirt onto the mound, sod side down.
5. Pile topsoil onto the mound - up to 5 to 6 feet tall. Our garden only ended up being about 4 feet tall, but I would have rather had it taller.
6. Plant trees or small brushy shrubs on top (we planted blueberries) and seed all over with a cover crop (or plant with vegetables immediately), and water well.
We'll keep you posted on our Chainsaw Gardening adventures!