An experiment in Hugelkulture in containers


Meadowlark

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@Meadowlark I am gonna point out you better kill some tree rats or something and toss them in there. Your test is missing a natural part of hugelkulture, its environment and the protein containing critters that come with it. After all the decomposition will be helped with the amino acids from the protien breakdown and I suppose the Nitrogen suck of the decomposition will moderate if you add N. I guess worms or something else might do it too, but it is a container and that breaks the natural plan and puts the parts in your hands.
Interesting comment. Thank you.

A couple of things to point out:

1) my materials are as natural as can be...literally right off the property...and very well decayed.

2) My garden soil used in the tub is right out of a thick alfalfa bed turned under and tested out with high nitrogen values...same as the control plants will be in.

I've also wondered about the N2 but feel those facts of decayed materials and alfalfa bed might mitigate any N2 "suck" but that's all part of the experiment.

Were you serious about the tree rats? LOL. I researched briefly but didn't find where the "old timers" used animal protein in their hügelkultur beds. Would be interested if you have a reference. In doing just another very brief research, I learned this stuff goes back literally centuries. Fascinating.
 
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I have an extra Celebrity seedling and I am going to try this experiment in a 10 gallon grow bag, but I am going to do it slightly different. I am going to use fairly good sized well rotted oak limbs packed into the bottom and then put in a shovel full of well aged leaf mold to fill in the voids. Then add more of the oak limbs and leaf mold until the container is about 3/4 full. Then I will fill the container with the garden soil from my old garden completely full but add the normal amount of 3-2-3 that I use on my inground plantings. It will subside about 15% after watering a few times There is already copious amounts of compost in this soil. I expect this will weigh considerably less than a grow bag full of garden soil and maybe it will even grow something. Will post pictures

P.S. I will pick up some roadkill possum or skunk on the way back from the Post Office and throw it in about half deep.
 

Meadowlark

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This is really getting interesting...and 10 gallon will definitely add more data for all of us, except of course for the wizard behind the curtain. I hope more will join in the fun.

Are you guys serious about the animal protein? I have 5 ponds stocked full of fish some of which would make some really good protein.
 
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This is really getting interesting...and 10 gallon will definitely add more data for all of us, except of course for the wizard behind the curtain. I hope more will join in the fun.

Are you guys serious about the animal protein? I have 5 ponds stocked full of fish some of which would make some really good protein.
No. If I put an animal or a fish into anything I would have instant fire ants. It is hard enough keeping them off of my okra as it is.
 
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2) My garden soil used in the tub is right out of a thick alfalfa bed turned under and tested out with high nitrogen values...same as the control plants will be in.

Oh Please..

Wow! Not only will that Nitrogen-rich soil "prevent Nitrogen suck" it will also do a great job of fertilizing your peppers and tomatoes.

As for the pieces of wood in the bottom, in a few years they might add some carbon to the soil.

Just remember to keep putting in Nitrogen-rich compost, or some other fertilizer... and please stop calling this Hugelkultur.
 
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Years ago, I buried several branches of trees near the roots of the trees. The branches gradually decompose and provide the necessary fertilizer for the tree. But such large branches decompose slowly, that is, in 2.3 years there will be fertilizer.
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Fertilizer from branches after 3 years.
 
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Interesting comment. Thank you.

A couple of things to point out:

1) my materials are as natural as can be...literally right off the property...and very well decayed.

2) My garden soil used in the tub is right out of a thick alfalfa bed turned under and tested out with high nitrogen values...same as the control plants will be in.

I've also wondered about the N2 but feel those facts of decayed materials and alfalfa bed might mitigate any N2 "suck" but that's all part of the experiment.

Were you serious about the tree rats? LOL. I researched briefly but didn't find where the "old timers" used animal protein in their hügelkultur beds. Would be interested if you have a reference. In doing just another very brief research, I learned this stuff goes back literally centuries. Fascinating.
Old timers or new for that matter did not have to worry about adding anything. The plastic walls are a barrier you are creating that they did not have. Critters could come and go, and a big pile was a critter condo with good drainage, warm and cozy in the winter, cool in summer. I did have a thought. I have become aware that side venting may offer some reservoir and air advantages to containers over bottom venting drain holes. If you try another, perhaps you might poke the sides up just as high as you might care to keep a water level?

I quit studying the hugelkulture model because I have a fairly sloped hill behind the house and it turns out they are crap for holding back water. They can let go in a frog strangler rain storm sending 10s of thousands or more pounds of water crashing toward something you value. In my case it is my back door.
 
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Meadowlark

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Yes Neno , I have found several references of using the same Hugelkulture bed for well over 20 years.

Of course, we are talking about hugelkulture in a container on this particular thread but its all good..
 
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Oh Please..

Wow! Not only will that Nitrogen-rich soil "prevent Nitrogen suck" it will also do a great job of fertilizing your peppers and tomatoes.

As for the pieces of wood in the bottom, in a few years they might add some carbon to the soil.

Just remember to keep putting in Nitrogen-rich compost, or some other fertilizer... and please stop calling this Hugelkultur.
According to Wikipedia the definition of hugelkulture is --A horticultural technique where a mound is constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass and is planted as a raised bed. As a little side note we are not cutting off limbs or picking up freshly fallen limbs. These limbs have been on the ground for years and are WELL rotted, almost crumbly. I submit that a bucket is a type of raised bed. The basic difference is that a bucket has plastic sides. And you still are trying to make this entire thing about production when it is NOT. We hope to get decent production but that is secondary. Just what is so hard to understand about this? What? It was ballyhooed in your textbooks?
 

Meadowlark

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DM wrote, "The plastic walls are a barrier you are creating that they did not have" That is true...I just fixed up an okra tub and I think I will add some side venting to it to see what happens. Of course, the original negative comment on this was that drainage would be problematic, which I have already seen is completely false, but for the sake of the experiment, I'll leave the original two tubs configured as is.
 
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Yes Neno , I have found several references of using the same Hugelkulture bed for well over 20 years.

Of course, we are talking about hugelkulture in a container on this particular thread but its all good..
Talking is the only thing you're doing with Hugelkultur on this thread.

Hugelkultur should just be thought of as a construction method and perhaps an aesthetic. There is nothing magical about it. It is just one of many ways of incorporating organic matter into the soil.

Furthermore, woody material is primarily a source of carbon in soil. Bury it, put it on the surface, keep it whole, chip it, grind it up, compost it.
It doesn't matter.. its still not a source of Nitrogen. Yes it is a weak source of Phosphorous, and a decent source of Potassium.

Ok, I'll add that to my collection that I started with "Don't care. Won't care. Friday at 1:14 PM". That one makes 7 on this thread alone. LOL.
Meadowlark, it doesn't matter that you don't care about criticism of your own "experiment'. The fact remains that the Nitrogen that is feeding the crops in your containers is not coming from that wood, however aged.

So what now? Is this thread going to continue all Summer, with you claiming an erroneous result every time you pick a tomato?
 
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Years ago, I buried several branches of trees near the roots of the trees. The branches gradually decompose and provide the necessary fertilizer for the tree. But such large branches decompose slowly, that is, in 2.3 years there will be fertilizer.View attachment 88556View attachment 88557View attachment 88558View attachment 88559View attachment 88560View attachment 88561View attachment 88562View attachment 88563View attachment 88564View attachment 88565 Fertilizer from branches after 3 years.
Yes good point! The forest floor is an example of a fast model, and even then the bark goes first while the interior wood slowly expresses its carbon over many years, or decades. The use of the smaller "ramial wood" is a better scenario. The sugars and nutrients in the growing bark and leaves are more to a gardening point. I thought it was a surface area thing once and tried to compost sawdust. That was educational but also an excercise in irritation.
 
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Yes Neno , I have found several references of using the same Hugelkulture bed for well over 20 years.

Of course, we are talking about hugelkulture in a container on this particular thread but its all good..
Add larvae of beetles that feed on dead wood, will quickly decompose dead branches and you will have a good fertilizer. In the woods, when a tree dies, rotting processes begin, but those friends who eat dead wood also help. In Chernobyl, trees do not rot because of radiation.
 
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Talking is the only thing you're doing with Hugelkultur on this thread.

Hugelkultur should just be thought of as a construction method and perhaps an aesthetic. There is nothing magical about it. It is just one of many ways of incorporating organic matter into the soil.

Furthermore, woody material is a primarily source of carbon in soil. Bury it, put it on the surface, keep it whole, chip it, grind it up, compost it.
It doesn't matter.. its still not a source of Nitrogen. Yes it is a weak source of Phosphorous, and a decent source of Potassium.


Meadowlark, it doesn't matter that you don't care about criticism of own "experiment'. The fact remains that the Nitrogen that is feeding the crops in your experiment is not coming from that wood, however aged, in the container.

So what now? Is this thread going to continue all Summer, with you claiming a false victory every time you pick a tomato?

Are you trying to tell us that gardeners 150 -200 years ago did not use fertilizer. Just what did they do with all that manure, make a pot of soup with it?
 
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Talking is the only thing you're doing with Hugelkultur on this thread.

Hugelkultur should just be thought of as a construction method and perhaps an aesthetic. There is nothing magical about it. It is just one of many ways of incorporating organic matter into the soil.

Furthermore, woody material is primarily a source of carbon in soil. Bury it, put it on the surface, keep it whole, chip it, grind it up, compost it.
It doesn't matter.. its still not a source of Nitrogen. Yes it is a weak source of Phosphorous, and a decent source of Potassium.


Meadowlark, it doesn't matter that you don't care about criticism of your own "experiment'. The fact remains that the Nitrogen that is feeding the crops in your containers is not coming from that wood, however aged.

So what now? Is this thread going to continue all Summer, with you claiming an erroneous result every time you pick a tomato?
Probably. And it is also true that it could become a favorite of website crawling netbots that institutionalize the post. It will bear watching! Somebody got a couple hundred pages out of a John Deere lawnmower transmission once. Even had Porsche engineers come over to post so anything is possible.
 
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DM wrote, "The plastic walls are a barrier you are creating that they did not have" That is true...I just fixed up an okra tub and I think I will add some side venting to it to see what happens. Of course, the original negative comment on this was that drainage would be problematic, which I have already seen is completely false, but for the sake of the experiment, I'll leave the original two tubs configured as is.
I favor not digging myself. Or my back does more precisely. I am headed toward the raised bed club myself.
 
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DM wrote, "The plastic walls are a barrier you are creating that they did not have" That is true...I just fixed up an okra tub and I think I will add some side venting to it to see what happens. Of course, the original negative comment on this was that drainage would be problematic, which I have already seen is completely false, but for the sake of the experiment, I'll leave the original two tubs configured as is.
I wish you success in the experience, success is the most important line, and I hope it is successful.
 

Meadowlark

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Talking is the only thing you're doing with Hugelkultur on this thread.


Meadowlark, it doesn't matter that you don't care about criticism of your own "experiment'. The fact remains that the Nitrogen that is feeding the crops in your containers is not coming from that wood, however aged.

So what now? Is this thread going to continue all Summer, with you claiming an erroneous result every time you pick a tomato?
These comments from the wizard behind the curtain just keep getting more and more ridiculous and bizarre. My entire garden has had the benefit of alfalfa cover, field peas cover, elbon rye, various clovers, vetch, etc. etc. I rely on covers turned into the soil summer and winter as the primary source of nutrients and soil building. I never once claimed the wood as a source for N, LOL. What a completely absurd statement.

Just as Chuck has said many times, you have completely and utterly missed the point of this experiment. I will be most happy when and if you indeed live up to your promise of not commenting on this thread. Thank you.

p.s. if I could block you I would.


Such comments as :

1) Don't care. Won't care. Friday at 1:14 PM March 25

2) I won't even bother Friday at 8:03 PM March 25

3) I have to be careful I don't hurt myself face-palming when I read this thread. Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

4) nobody will not know whether the treatment had any effect Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

5) To od so with comprehension Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

6) there is always rom for improvement Saturday at 10:56 PM March 26

7) Oh Please.. Monday at 3 pm March 28
 
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These comments from the wizard behind the curtain just keep getting more and more ridiculous and bizarre. My entire garden has had the benefit of alfalfa cover, field peas cover, elbon rye, various clovers, vetch, etc. etc. I rely on covers turned into the soil summer and winter as the primary source of nutrients and soil building. I never once claimed the wood as a source for N, LOL. What a completely absurd statement.

Just as Chuck has said many times, you have completely and utterly missed the point of this experiment. I will be most happy when and if you indeed live up to your promise of not commenting on this thread. Thank you.

p.s. if I could block you I would.


Such comments as :

1) Don't care. Won't care. Friday at 1:14 PM March 25

2) I won't even bother Friday at 8:03 PM March 25

3) I have to be careful I don't hurt myself face-palming when I read this thread. Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

4) nobody will not know whether the treatment had any effect Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

5) To od so with comprehension Saturday at 10:17 PM March 26

6) there is always rom for improvement Saturday at 10:56 PM March 26

7) Oh Please.. Monday at 3 pm March 28
Has @ Marck ever even once showed us a picture of anything in his garden or of even a snapshot of his entire garden? I cannot recall any but I have seen many pictures of your garden and plants and I have posted quite a few of mine. Perhaps he will post a few just to let us actually know for sure that he knows even a modicum about actual gardening. We all know he knows a lot about university textbooks and plant ID apps though.
 

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