Mini Modified Hugel Bed

I have added quite a few “official” hugelkulturs to my orchard, butterfly garden, rain garden and pond area. But in the regular annual vegetable growing part of the garden I have tried doing some modified versions, like digging a trench down the middle of a 4′ x 10′ bed and laying a single log in it. Today I dug the last batch of potatoes out of a bed, trenched it down the middle and lay some small logs and the remains of a rotting whiskey barrel which had been a planter for many years.

Then I topped the logs off with a garbage can full of mostly composted kitchen garbage. In order to discourage rats and mice I have taken to keeping kitchen scraps in a 5 gal. bucket layered with pee-stained toilet paper that I save for that purpose. The 5 gal. bucket lives in the laundry room, and when it’s full I take it out to a full sized plastic garbage can by the potting shed, where it gets layered with straw or leaves. It slowly composts down and takes a long time for my son and I to fill (he has his own cottage and kitchen). When it gets pretty close to full, I roll it out to an empty bed, dig a big trench down the middle and spread the contents in it and cover it up with dirt. I have noticed that these beds, which only happen a couple times a year, seem to grow the biggest strongest plants in them!

I also have a pretty serious mole problem. Moles love worms, and worms love soil filled with material that is still breaking down – like kitchen compost. What I’m hoping with the bed I just put together is that the logs under the compost will make it harder for the moles to create big pockets under whatever is growing there. I will let you know how that goes…

Next I’m going to plant potatoes – which won’t come up until spring – and Oregon Sugar Pod peas which may have time to set some peas – and if not – may survive the winter and set peas as soon as the weather warms. If it doesn’t work for the pea pods at least it will work as a good cover crop for winter. I may cover it with floating row cover cloth later in the winter. I will have to see how it goes. It’s all an experiment…

Here are some pictures of the bed in progress this morning…

Bed with old logs and rotting oak in a trench
Bed with old logs and rotting oak in a trench
Partially finished compost layered on logs in trench – ready to cover with soil

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