Paul and Fred discuss the history and report on the progress of the hugelkultur berms at basecamp. The podcast starts out with a brief history of why the berms were created, how they were created, the components included in the berm itself, and the part the berms are playing in improving soil conditions.
In the first couple of years there was a lot of animal pressure from deer, turkeys, chipmunks and rabbits until the chipmunk population started to ease and there is some speculation between Paul and Fred as to why that might be. Once a feral cat, aptly named Gert, appeared on the hugel scene the animal pressure mostly disappeared and the hugel beds begin to grow lush and “jungle-ly”.
Paul and Fred move on to discussing the soil conditions, or lack of soil, at basecamp and the state of the property when Paul acquired the acreage. They explain why the main hugelkultur bed near the Fisher Price house is very tall, narrow and should be physically impossible except for the fact that it currently exists.
Paul explains the concept of “Bootcamp for Perennials” and how that program pertains to hugel berms and the plants that have been installed on the berms. Organic matter is being increased on the berms through different means, including Chop and Drop, Mulching, planting and other means to keep the material in place on the berms. Discussion turns to the types of plants that have gone through Bootcamp, Paul’s appreciation for Rhubarb, transplanted fruit trees, seasonal conditions and the impact on trees and plants around wheaton labs.
Fred and Paul then talk about the plants found on the berms including Sepp Holzer’s perennial grain, volunteer potatoes, wild buckwheat, rhubarb, sunchokes (Jerusalem artichoke), prickly lettuce among others. They then segue way into the advantages of indigo clothing, tall fescue and the ability to fertilize the property in a natural way. The discussion moves on to a lengthy list of fruits and vegetables that are now growing on the hugelkultur beds, including buckbrush, serviceberries, lemon balm, comfrey, vetch, mustard, mullein and many more.
After the cataloguing of growth currently on the berms there is an overview of the intention and reasoning about establishing a polyculture environment without a large amount of actual effort. Now in the fourth year the hugelkultur beds are improving the soil and beginning to produce food and the hope is that in the next year it will be possible to grow a full hugelkultur garden with minimal-to-no watering.
The Podcasts winds up with a summary of the 2018 PDC for scientists and engineers taught by Alan Booker of the Eldenbridge Institute.
Credit: Eric Tolbert
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This podcast was made possible thanks to:
Ash Jackson is The Scrollbard
Eivind W. Bjoerkavaag