Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hugelkultur Garden Update

Our hugelkultur bed has really started to take off lately!

In this bed, we have three tomato plants that are starting to grow tomatoes, three zucchini plants that already have zucchini growing (I harvested my first one late last week, and man was it a huge zucchini!), two pie pumpkin plants with vines that are now vigorously growing, some Swiss chard, a couple of sunflowers, and a few herbs, including holy basil.

There are still ants living in the bed, but I decided to just let them be since we are getting quite a bit of growth, and I am pretty satisfied with that alone.

I have let a few weeds grow in the bed to help keep the soil in place.  If they start going to seed, I will attend to that, but in the mean time, they have actually been helpful to this point with holding the soil down.  Thus far, I haven't had a ton of weeds anyway since it is more of a raised bed style garden.

I am monitoring the plants in this bed to see if it needs watering.  Since one of the benefits of a hugelkultur bed is that very little watering is required, I am keeping an eye on it, but am not currently watering it.  I haven't really watered it much since I first planted in the bed, actually.

Since we have been blessed with a good amount of rainfall this year (and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in a drought-stricken area right now), I haven't really needed to water my garden beds much anyway, but with this one in particular, I am experimenting with how long I can go without watering it.  Hopefully the rest of the season, but we shall see...

The most exciting recent development in this bed is that one of my dwarf sunflowers has finally started to bloom.  This is the first year that I have grown sunflowers, so I can't wait until all of them start to flower.  My goals with them are to help attract pollinators as well as to bring some beauty to the garden.

The other day, I took a picture of that sunflower just before it was going to bloom:

And then afterward:

What a beauty!  Quite often, it is the most simple things that are the most beautiful, just as our Creator made them.

For those who are not familiar with hugelkultur-style gardening, it is essentially burying woody materials such as logs and twigs in soil and then growing plants on top of that mound.  These gardens are very productive, and because they contain wood, they soak up water like a sponge.  This gives us a big advantage for growing things in a way that dramatically conserves water.

I hope that using water-saving growing techniques like hugelkultr will become much more commonplace, since water resources have been predicted to become much more limited in the future.

This garden bed should become even more productive with each passing year as the wood continues to break down.

To learn more about how I built my hugelkultur garden bed and to see what the bed looked like before everything started growing so vigorously in it, check out this post that I wrote back in May.

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