Sunday, October 29, 2017

Garden Report: Hugelkultur Bed - Bird Haven


This past summer was a bumper year for berries in the garden.
Mahonia bushes produced large bunches of berries. Individual berries weren't as large as other years but this year there were so many mid-sized ones the bushes were heavy with them 
The birds loved them.
The birds also started to enjoy the newly established Bird Haven Hugelkultur bed.

The original site for the Bird Haven bed was a tired grass lawn and a few natives under a Douglas-fir tree.

One of the first tasks Tom tackled with his big machine was to carefully bring the logs from a pile made when the lot was cleared to build the house, out into the backyard.

He picked up the native plants and placed them in a temporary bed outside the construction zone.


Construction of the Bird Haven began with Tom scooping out a trench inside the outline I had marked with yarn. Next, he laid logs in the trench to roughly fill the space.

He covered the first log layer with topsoil he had saved when he had cleared the Backyard site...

...then stacked on top another layer of logs....

...and covered it all with a layer of soil he packed down lightly.
Tom had made a hugelkultur bed (mound culture), a garden building technique long common in forests of central Europe. 

No scrap of wood is ever wasted. Piled up and buried the wood acts as a water reservoir accessible to plants during the dry season.
Here I am planting pieces of comfrey root around the base of the bed. The quick growing comfrey with its deep taproot will hold the base of the mound during the rainy season.
Ron and I began adding a variety of organic materials to the soil mound as a protective mulch - fallen leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, composted shredded garden clippings.
I cast a number of different types of seeds planning for them to grow as a green mulch cover. The birds thought I had laid out a smorgasbord and feasted before heading south. Oh well, I rationalised, they wouldn't have eaten every single seed. The remaining seeds will germinate in the spring and do their job.
The birds are enjoying the bed even before it is fully planted.




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