Skip to main content

View Diary: Introduction to Ecological Gardening pt. V: Basic Garden Ecology- Polycultures (39 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The fungal soils make sense. (6+ / 0-)

    I read on the Forest Service database that a lot of climax trees are often found growing over old, decaying wood.  That' probably why.  I've still got the remnants of some dead Lombardy poplars that were planted by this house's pevious owners.  I might bury a short poplar log under my bare root seedlings.  As for understory plants, I was was just going to grab some native seeds from somewhere and plant them.  Nothing fancy.  Now if only I could get rid of the quackgrass.

    A lot of Wisconsin's soil is so rich a broom handle will bloom if you stick it in.  My part of the state isn't one of them.  The biggest growers in my area are the paper mills with their red pines.

    Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

    by Ice Blue on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 05:48:19 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Check out hugelkultur (6+ / 0-)

      Here is a link to Paul Wheaton's article on it.

      Believe it or not, it works. Some woods are better than others, but most types are fine. Cedar/Black Locust/Pines are not so good due to their rot resistance, tannins, etc.

      Good luck with your project! I can't wait to plant tree seedlings this spring :)

      •  Thanks for the link (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue, FinchJ

        Since my next project is a cabin in the forest, I will have PLENTY of old, rotten logs to use!  I just wish I'd stumbled across this when I was trying to figure out how to build innocuous fencing in the suburbs.  A two-foot high hugelkultur mound with blueberry bushes on top would have done much to save my nerves from the stress of too many neighbors.  As it was, all I used excess logs for was edging my garden beds.  They work for that -- pretty, provide slow breakdown products for the soil, and the cats LOVE them as scratching pads (might be why I've never had any problem from cats scratching up the furniture).  But with twenty acres of forest to work with, I'm going to be up to my hips in rotten logs (too old to burn), and I hate to waste good organic matter.

        I'm thinking . . . steep slope off the front porch, stacking logs crosswise against the slope as an erosion break, cover with leafmold from up the hill, plant the blueberry bushes and cherry trees?  What would be good underplantings to fill the groundcover niche?

        •  That sounds like so much fun! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ice Blue

          Where is your cabin? In order to help choose what to grow, we have to take into consideration latitude, altitude, climate type, hardiness zone, land aspect, precipitation, etc. But the general idea is a great start. Using the logs as "check logs" to form miniature terraces is spot on.

          One thing you don't want to do is build hugelkultur beds on contour. Sepp Holzer (on page 37-38 of Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, links above) states:

          The beds must not be parallel to the slop, otherwise those at the top of the hill will absorb all of the water when it rains, whilst the beds at the bottom will, in the worst case, begin to dry out. Water must be supplied evenly to all of the beds.
          Ahh, a cabin in the woods. Makes me eager for my move to Finland. Can't wait to get my hands on some summer cottages and start designing!
      •  There's a name for burying some wood and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FinchJ

        and planting stuff on it?  Cool!  

        Part of my yard is covered by a white pine and oak canopy so every wind storm brings down a few big branches.  I'm ashamed to admit I've been burning them.  This year I'm going to give hugelkultur a try.  If it really does stay moist I'd love to try to grow some balsam firs.  

        Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

        by Ice Blue on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:42:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know! And we are always told don't bury wood... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ice Blue

          Read a lot about it before trying and see what others have done. If you are in termite country it will be best to think about the distance to your home. If they are improperly built, they quickly become homes for voles and such. Which aren't necessarily a problem if you have a healthy system, but in the suburbs it can become troublesome due to lack of predation.

          Anyway, its never too late to stop burning! Even just using the branches in the garden as perches for birds (we have a few piles around and the birds love them) works because they will eventually rot. Even when they aren't rotting, a "sleeping log" will become an accumulator of organisms since they hold moisture underneath.

          Theres so much out there that once I started learning about this I couldn't stop (especially after seeing the examples I linked to in the first diary).

          •  Most of the red oaks in my area are dying (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FinchJ

            of a disease called oak wilt.  A neighbor usually grabs the big logs for his fireplace but he always leaves some good sized sticks.  Chipmunks and red squirrels love them.  They drive my cats nuts.

            Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

            by Ice Blue on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 04:05:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site