I’ve been clearing terraces, and there has been so much organic matter that I’ve cleared now and I’ve been piling them into big mounds.
I’ve wanted to get a shredder/chipper so that I could then shred it and convert to biochar. Thing is that I can’t afford the shredder right now (although when I can, I’d love to have a go at making the Chipper / Hammermill on OpenSourceEcology). I’ve slowly been throwing dirt on some of these piles in order to try and get them to compress down so that the wind doesn’t blow them away and also so that they hold more moisture and can begin to decompose. I’ve only just recently become aware of what is termed ‘Hugelkultur’ beds. I think the idea really is to use solid chunks of tree trunks so that they can slowly decompose over time and become very good at holding moisture. Some say that when a Hugelkultur bed is established it can go for a whole season with very little, if any irrigation whatsoever.
I’d like to try so I’m going to convert these existing piles I have into Hugelkultur beds and see how they go over winter. I imagine they will compact down quite a bit over winter and hopefully will be nice and ready for some summer planting when time comes. I’ve also got a big pile that was one of the first piles I created when I had to cut back all the mimosas near the caravan.
I guess that if I convert this into a Hugelkultur bed then I risk it popping up with Mimosa trees all over it but I think that would probably happen anyway, regardless of whether I make it into a Hugelkultur bed or not. I have read some articles saying that it’s OK to use Mimosa wood, so long as it’s dry. The problem that concerns me is the seeds. Anyway, I’ll update the post as I go along.
A good image that gives a better idea of what it should be like in ideal circumstances:
Links that could be of further interest …
Hugelkultur in Mediterranean Climate Portugal
The Art and Science of Making a Hugelkultur Bed – Transforming Woody Debris into a Garden Resource
and from one of the wise men of Permaculture, Sepp Holzer, on Farming with Terraces and Raised Beds
That’s all for now.
SamOctober 24, 2011 at 10:01 am
Wonderful! Hoping that the path to your vision opens up beautifully. And also hope to visit some day. 🙂
Earth MonkiOctober 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm
@Sam. You are welcome 🙂