Finally we have begun the hugelkultur bed! For months I have been giving the ginormis pile of logs and brush in the middle of the field the hairy eyeball. I hated the idea of putting it there, but as it turns out it was a great thing. Hugelkultur or mound gardening uses up all the brush, logs, roots/stumps to build a mounded garden that will conserve water, and sequester carbon while providing nutrients for plants growing on it. Here is the pile of logs and brush as Dain is shaping the hugelkultur bed.
As you can see it is a huge pile, Dain sculpted an awesome crescent that faces south and will create a nice micro climate in winter. (fingers crossed) While Dain was sculpting, I was gathering logs we had piled around the property to fill in holes and try to make a smoother plane to place the dirt onto.
This is what we had once Dain and I were finished, and now we are ready for dirt! This thing ended up tremendously large and will take a ton and a half of dirt to give us the foot or so of depth we need on top of this thing. We are planning a largish pond on the other side of the field where water normally collects and so we are taking soil from that area to use on the bed.
It is hard to see the scale in these pictures, but the top of the bed is about shoulder height, or 5 feet high without the soil. As large as this bed is I should be able to produce plenty of food for the family, a great start!
There are so many facets to the biodynamic garden, where to begin is difficult. On the top end: the sun, wind, rain, moon and stars. Below the soil, insects, fungi and microbes. All of these things together orchestrate the coming together of matter and energy into growing things. The position of the moon and stars in relation to the earth influences growing things. Observing this interaction and utilizing the beneficial times for planting, maintaining, and harvesting your crops can increase yields, vitamin/ mineral content, and keeping quality of those crops. The work of Rudolf Steiner and his Agriculture Course connected us to the universe in a spiritual way. He pointed out how important it is for "the soil and the substances in the soil to be cared for in such a way that the influences streaming in to the earth from the stars can be accessible to plants" These influences can be subtle and contribute a quality in the plants that is more akin to the soul in us than a particular physical element. This seems to be the big draw for most of us is this intangible quality to biodynamicly grown food that nourishes the spiritual component of us. Conventional farming misses this important, intangible part of food. There are more things in this universe than are known to us, things that we cannot see, hear, or feel and are important all the same, maybe even vital. This method of growing is not just theory though and has been tested over and over by those like Maria Thun. She makes the calendars every year that help you to know when to plant what, and add what preparation when. To learn more about biodynamic gardening read the Agriculture Course for free. Or visit my amazon store to order Maria Thuns Biodynamic Growing Calendar. For biodynamic preparations you can go to the Josephine Porter Institute.
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.