BTE, hugelkulture, hydroponics and other unconventional gardening

Lazy Gardener

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Hi all. I found my way back to this forum. I'm gardening in the snow country of central Maine. 4+ acres, flock of chickens. 3 year old mini orchard. Embrace no till gardening. Working with deep permanent mulch or BTE in garden and orchard, sheet composting, small hugelkulture mound which produces 20# buttercup! DLM in chicken run and modified DLM in chicken coop. Birds eat fermented feed.

Are there any members from Maine?

Any of you folks playing with hydroponics? This is my latest venture, and I am just getting started with Kratky method. I'd love some input from any one else working with hydro or aquaponics.
 

frustratedearthmother

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You're way ahead of me! I really need to incorporate more methods into my gardening. Sorry - not from Maine. Welcome from Texas!
 

Joel_BC

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I became intrigued by the idea of hugelkulture two or three years ago — but I didn't try it. Reason being I don't think our soil situation would be conducive to making it work.

But I believe I started a thread with a question about what SS members may have tried it. You can probably search and find that thread.

20# of buttercup? Gee, on the face of it, that doesn't sound too successful. But...??
 

Hinotori

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I've thought about hugelkulture. Lately in fact. I was wondering how well it would work for grape vines. I need them higher than ground level so they don't drown here during certain times of winter. Currently the things live in pots but would produce more fruit with more root room.

I have deep litter in my large fowl coop. It has a dirt floor underneath and plenty of earthworms. Never any smell in there. All runs I've worked on soil building to keep them dryer.
 

Lazy Gardener

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I became intrigued by the idea of hugelkulture two or three years ago — but I didn't try it. Reason being I don't think our soil situation would be conducive to making it work.

But I believe I started a thread with a question about what SS members may have tried it. You can probably search and find that thread.

20# of buttercup? Gee, on the face of it, that doesn't sound too successful. But...??

I grew 185# of squash from 3 hills, and I consider a single 20# buttercup to be very successful. What size buttercup do you typically grow?

What is your soil situation? In a typical urban yard, in a typical urban neighborhood, I'd not consider HK unless I had a lot of trash wood to get rid of, and I had either an excess of ground water, or not enough water. HK IMO works well with all types of soil, is great for getting rid of punky wood, allows gardening on sub-optimum land, and can be used to manage water issues. (either too much or not enough) In my case: After having some land cleared, the excavator and other equipment turned my soil structure completely upside down, leaving rocky potter clay subsoil on the top, completely studded with rocks and boulders. This area dropped off to an area which was 3' lower. So, I built a HK bed into that bank to use up some of the trash wood. Finished bed will be 5 - 8' wide x 40' long. It's less than 1/2 finished, and not built according to protocol, since I have no earth moving equipment to trench or pile soil on top of the mound. But, it's working great, in it's 3 - 4th year.

I've thought about hugelkulture. Lately in fact. I was wondering how well it would work for grape vines. I need them higher than ground level so they don't drown here during certain times of winter. Currently the things live in pots but would produce more fruit with more root room.

I have deep litter in my large fowl coop. It has a dirt floor underneath and plenty of earthworms. Never any smell in there. All runs I've worked on soil building to keep them dryer.

HK would probably work well for your grape vines. You might need to be diligent to keep them from spreading from the roots. I'm not well versed in grape culture. Have been trying to get some struggling vines going for a few years. I think I may have turned the corner with that effort. Have Somerset, and recently planted some Concord cuttings. Unwanted attention from chickens has not helped with this venture. But, I was able to keep them protected last season.

I had good success with DLM in a coop with soil floor. But current coop situation is raised wood floor, 8 x 10. Ground frozen 6 months of the year, so DL in coop turns into a solid brick in the winter.
 

Joel_BC

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I grew 185# of squash from 3 hills, and I consider a single 20# buttercup to be very successful. What size buttercup do you typically grow?
Thanks for the reply. Where I live, what we call a "buttercup" is a flowering herb, mostly regarded by gardeners as a weed. (I'm sure it may have herbal uses...) At least 90% of gardeners I know try to weed it out. To me 20# means 20 pounds, so I visualized 20# of that kind of buttercup.

But if you were happy with the result, then I'm glad you got it. :)

What is your soil situation? In a typical urban yard, in a typical urban neighborhood, I'd not consider HK unless I had a lot of trash wood to get rid of, and I had either an excess of ground water, or not enough water. HK IMO works well with all types of soil...
I'm in a British Columbia mountain-valley upland situation, above the valley bottom land that lies close to the flood plain. The land below ours has a naturally loamy soil, with the typically desirable mineral-soil mixture of clay, silt, sand particles. That makes for a coherent soil (you can squeeze a moist handful and it will hold together).

On the other hand, our higher elevation bench land has almost entirely a sandy or sandy-silty soil, which isn't coherent. The efforts of ourselves in addition to several previous landowners, over a more than 60 years of organic nurturing, has improved the upper layer — but that isn't very deep, and the soil beneath is still "well drained" but incoherent.

Due to the fact that we built the 10"-deep soil in our greenhouse raised beds, the situation in there is very different. We are very experienced organic gardeners, and my characterization of our soil isn't a lament but it is pretty accurate. But I don't mean to say we're reluctant to trying a new technique.

Here's a diagram of what people often get with hugelkultur in this soil type...
hugelkultur.jpg


I don't doubt your great results, Lazy Gardener. I applaud them.

By the way, what is "buttercup" in your sense of the word?
 
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baymule

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I tried a hugel mound and it didn't work too well for me. What worked better was a flat hugel. I planted asparagus next to a line of rotten tree trunks on a very slight slope. The tree trunks hold moisture.
 

Lazy Gardener

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My HK is not a standard mound. It is built into the bank, so it is somewhat raised, looking like a raised bed when viewed from the area of the yard that is "finished". Looking at it from the "wild side" it varies from 3.5' tall at the finished end, to approximately 1.5 tall at the yet to be finished end.
 

Lazy Gardener

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I tried a hugel mound and it didn't work too well for me. What worked better was a flat hugel. I planted asparagus next to a line of rotten tree trunks on a very slight slope. The tree trunks hold moisture.
Is the asparagus planted IN the tree trunks, or adjacent to them? Issues with weed control for the asparagus? I don't do well growing asparagus.
 

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