Friday, 17 February 2012

Doing some more Hugelkultur

I wanted to bury the old blackcurrant bushes and the cuttings with big bud on them.  There were some other things that needed burying so I decided to do some trenching.
One spit down.
I am going to put the climbing French beans here so a good deep root run will be good for them.  The top soil is left on the right of the picture.
Now we go down another spit.
The old huglekulture wood can be seen.
When I dug out the second spit, I found last years hugelkultur wood.  It had rotted away to a fibrous peaty mass. I am going to mix this with the subsoil when I put the soil back in the trench.
Having a layer of woody material under the Brussel sprouts does not seem to have affected them detrimentally.  In fact I think that it might have encouraged them to grow larger.
I used the fork to turn over the bottom of the trench.  You can see the sandy clay that is the subsoil on the allotment.  I don't usually turn this up because the top soil is so deep on the allotment.  This area used to be where my old greenhouse was and I never double dug here while the green house was up.  This means that the top soil is not very deep.
I put the old blackcurrant bushes at the bottom and then got some more brush wood.  These are twigs and branches from a laburnum tree overhanging the fence.  Laburnum is a legume nitrogen fixing plant. Does this mean that I am adding extra nitrogen to the soil?
I then added a good layer of weeds that included couch grass and docks.  They may grow but I don't think so. On top of them I put a thick layer of leaves.  I'm not too sure about these leaves.  They have been rotting away in the bins by the gate for a while but they still look a little ropey.
Still needs must... Finally I put a layer of upturned turfs on the top.
If the weeds can grow through that lot then they deserve to be given a chance.  They wont be though.  Now I put the subsoil back but I am going to sieve it and add horse and pigeon muck.
The subsoil looks much better when it is sieved and mixed with manure. I am sieving through an old bread tray.  The holes in the bottom of the tray are about 1 inch square.  I just push the soil backwards and forwards in the tray until it falls through the holes.   I will sieve the top soil on top of the  subsoil mixing in more horse and pigeon muck.

And that is how I do hugelkultur.  I am hoping that this will heat up a bit and allow me to get an early crop of lettuce off it.

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