Summer 2016: Soil

This year has been an exciting growing season for us, since switching from hugelkultur mounded rows, laid out on contour, to tire terraces still laid out on contour, and still using hugelkultur principles within the tires, our usable garden space has more than doubled! AND, we aren’t suffering the loss of our precious soil anymore, the soil stays put! The soil in the tires is mostly rabbit manure and composted chicken manure, on top of old rotting logs and brush. In 2013 we built a big garden bed, that we call  ‘the E bed’, this year it is showing amazing fertility and soil maturity. The difference in the plants health between the new tire beds and the E bed is quite obvious. I love how each year our garden beds get better and better!


Above is a picture of tomatoes growing in our new tire beds. Not too shabby.


Here is our watermelon patch, growing very well in a big tractor tire bed we built earlier this year.


Here is a shot of a tomato plant growing in our mature E bed. These tomato plants are doing stellar!

Gram’s Garden: Raised Beds using Tires 2

Contouring the South Facing Slope

It’s that time of year, when it’s finally cool enough weather to get out on the hillside and clean it up. Tim made an “A-frame” contour tool and started laying out the contours to build our hugelkultur terrace swales on our newly cleared south facing slope. It’s funny, we’ve been dreading actually getting this hillside cleaned up. When you walk out there and look around it just looks like an insurmountable mess… but now that we have the first arch getting pretty tidy, the contouring is getting rather addictive…

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Hugelkulture- timeless widsom

I am part of a forum of passionate Permaculture Farmers, who are trying to live a good life and spread the good news about living responsibly and sustainably. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d sure like to hand my kids this world as a gift of unending possibilities, opportunities and love. I believe learning to connect to and live in respectful harmony with the Earth is the way for us.

Hugelkulture is an amazing gardening technique that gives back to our amazing planet, and also helps Her give us even more! Our Planet and beautiful Host is so generous and loving, She responds so positively to those who consider Her. Here are a few links that explain this amazing Hugelkulture and all the wondrous benefits using this technique can mean to your farm or garden.

:My Friend, Paul Wheaton’s Blog:

:Forum Post discussing Hugelkulture:

:raised garden beds: hugelkultur instead of irrigation:

:Forum Post discussing and pictures showing Hugelkulture Beds:

Videos about Hugelkulture:

^ in this video they show a few folks working together to put a hugelkulture bed together

proof hugelkulture works!

::hugelkultur raised garden beds FAQ::

My HOA won’t allow anything like that, what do I do? (my neighbors would freak out, what do I do?)

There are many possibilities. Some people dig a trench five feet deep, fill that with organic matter and have something that is either flush with the surface or it appears to be only one foot tall (which is in the comfort zone of neighbors and HOA folk). Other people will build something that is 18 inches high the first year, and add a foot each year. Still others will have so many neighbors build them all at once that it is difficult the buck the tide. And then there is always the back yard.

I have standing trees that are about to be cut down. I don’t want to have a bunch of logs sitting around until they are old to be used for raised garden beds. What do I do?

The wood doesn’t have to be old to be used. In fact, it is even better when fresh!

Do I need a wood chipper/shredder?

No. This style of raised garden beds works much better if the wood is not chipped. So much more peaceful and less smelly too!

How do I till it every spring?

Once the raised garden bed is built, you don’t ever till it. As the wood breaks down inside the bed, it will sorta-kinda till its insides itself. And with a really tall, really steep raised garden bed, nobody will step on it, so the soil will not become compacted.

I’m 81 years old. Does this make gardening less work?

More work to set up. But less work as the years pass. Planting and harvesting should be easier since you won’t have to bend down as much. On the second year and beyond, all irrigation and fertilization will be eliminated – so that’s less work. When combined with permaculture and polyculture techniques, you can even eliminate planting seeds, so that in the end, all you ever do is harvest.

What will this do to the flavor of the food?

It will make for stronger flavor. Especially for fruits. Expect far more flavor in tomatoes and berries.