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RE: New Kitchen Garden - Update and Overview

in #homesteading4 years ago

Hi Daron!
It is so exciting to see a new garden taking shape! I am sure that all the effort you are putting into it will be generously rewarded :)

I wanted to ask you something about the hugelkultur beds. I know that uncomposted organic matter should stay on top of the ground and I even found a relevant remark on your post about mulch.

Also, a friendly reminder—do not till or bury mulch of any type. Mulch goes on the surface of the soil. Burying mulch can result in problems such as decreased available nitrogen for your plants.

My question is why this doesn't apply at the hugelkultur beds. It sounds logical to me that during the decomposition of the logs in the beds the nitrogen should decrease but apparently it doesn't. I would be most obliged if you can answer this question that has been bugging me but it's ok if you can't :)
Greetings from Crete!


Hello and thank you! The main reason is that the mulch being much smaller than the logs breaks down much more quickly which takes more nitrogen. The decomp of the logs is much slower and more based on fungal decomp as opposed to bacterial decomp. Bacterial decomp uses more nitrogen than fungal decomp.

Also, with hugelkultur beds the wood should be buried down at least 4 to 6 inches. This keeps the logs down far enough that the plant roots have plenty of soil to go into. If you till in mulch it will be near the surface where most plant feeder roots are located--especially when the plants are just getting established.

But just to be safe I also tend to add some material higher in nitrogen around the logs. In this case that was green sod. But animal manure would work too. I don't really think it is needed but it does not hurt either.

Hugel beds really are a longterm investment. Most hugel beds don't really take off in terms of plant growth for 2 or 3 years. But I still find that mine do fine in the 1st year--they just do better 2 or 3 years in.

Forgot to mention... I also always grow a fair number of nitrogen fixing plants in my hugel beds when they are new. But I do this with all my non-hugel beds too. It just helps them all do better.

Hope that helps!

Posted using Partiko Android

It does!
Thank you very much for your thorough response!
Till now I am adding compost and organic matter on top of the beds but at the next ones I will try to put some logs on the bottom. It sounds like a very good idea :)

Awesome and that sounds great! Good luck! :)

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