Hugelkultur. Stage 2 of the Raised vegetable bed.

Hugelkultur update.

Layers 1 and 2: Cardboard and logs. Earth packed into the gaps. 50% total height.

This first stage was completed a few days ago.

After this cardboard (5% of total height=TH) and base layer of logs (45% TH) with our rich garden soil packed in between in spaces here is the next stage.

Layer 3: brash/small branches, green waste. 10% total height.

Brash of twigs/small branches (damson, apple, silver birch trees), nettles/grass clippings (for nitrogen content), and appropriate other green waste from vegetable peelings, etc. This 10% layer was found around the garden. More will be added to these remaining three sections. Most is under the first, nearly complete, section.

Gathering for this 3rd layer?

We ignored various offerings. The resin based larch and pine woods. Various woods from bits of old fences, broken pine furniture, etc. that may have been chemically impregnated with rot resistant applications. Also, year old ivy, bramble, dog rose branches that lay in compost boxes or the dry/dead hedge. Not sure about the many leaves from rhizomes/bulb/corm/tubers plants we didn’t bother with them.

Layer 4: compost and manure mix. 10% total height.

We bought a mix of organic farm manure and compost in bags. Mixed up with our earth soil too. We do have a couple of compost bins, but no true intent in the past due to the focus on turning the garden around from being a jungle. There is still a long way to go!

Layer 5: top soil. 30% total height.

Bags of top soil that we bought had a basis of rich clay loam soil with humus content to aid retention of both nutrients and moisture. It was known that it was to be mixed with our own garden soil. But we will also add peat free additional multi-purpose compost or additive enriched fertiliser fluids from bottles. We should be able to make some of our own liquid fertilisers in the future.

Currently looking into the importance of humus. Humus is compost at the very end stages where only microbes exist. No bacteria munching away on the composting inclusions we throw into our outdoor compost bins, containers, etc. Humus is actually more complicated than this scientifically. Reading bits and bobs on the Internet, the information talks of how it is basically a long term essential inclusion. I feel our garden, with allowing the natural breakdowns of those leaves, plants, pruned tree branches and tree fruits have contributed to humus soil. But want to investigate more.

As an aside, all our earth soil was riddled into the raised bed. It was pretty time consuming and hard digging up the earth from the side of the raised bed. Even though soft and loose. It had a lot of small pea gravel in this section by the bed which will be an ideal ground cover for covering with bark chippings.

Top soil mix of bought bag of clay loam soil and humus mixed with own garden soil. More nutritional considerations to be added to a mix to go on top. Finish to get just below the first curve.

Ongoing aims.

The plan is to focus on each individual section of the four separate sections. There could be considerations for specific soil needs if a soon to be chosen crop choice were to require it.

Currently reading information about types of pH levels and suitability for specific vegetables and herbs. A pH value of 6.5 suits most it seems. We knew that different grades of top soil are available. We also know our own soil to be of wonderful dark loose consistency. Luckily we are focused upon organic principles and are blessed with many fruit trees in the garden. Fallen leaves from apple, damson and silver birch and dropped apple varieties and damsons are always left to break down to add to the earth’s properties. These have certainly helped over the years on years. The earth grows plants and shrubs very well. We have not checked pH value as yet though. More to follow.