Heat and hugelculture 

The other day, newly grown chard on a hugel bed I built earlier in the year looked like this:

Never before have I known chard to wilt, let alone be prostrate. Now, it has been warm and dry but I suspect that the reason for such a spectacular display of distress is down to the hugel bed. 

At the moment, the wood under the soil and compost will still be solid branches and thus hardly the ‘sponge’ I hope it will become once the wood starts to decompose. In addition, the top soil will be thinner on the hugel bed than it would have been before I built it, as it would need to cover a larger area than before/will have sunk between the branches.

Two years ago, when I built my first bed, it seemed to produce better results than growing in soil which had not been so ‘amended’. However, I think I packed in a lot more more green compostable material, if not compost.

Furthermore, chard has a long tap root and perhaps the roots don’t fan out as much as some other plants. This could mean it will have a hard time finding water in comparison with cucumber and mange-tout, the crops which did well in 2015.

Anyway, the chard has recovered with a good dose of water. And as a volunteer plant, rather than a crop I had lovingly tended since seed, there wouldn’t be the same level of chagrin, should it be lost. I do hope, however, that this hugel bed is more effective next year, if indeed what I surmise is true!

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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2 Responses to Heat and hugelculture 

  1. skyeent says:

    One of my favourite quotes is attributed to Michael Bond’s Paddington bear. ‘Life is like a marmalade sandwich, you only get out what you are prepared to put in’. I suspect you are probably right and that things will probably improve as the woody material starts to decompose. Also, I don’t think plants generally were subjected to the drier conditions that some regions of the UK have experienced this year. The other plants there appear to be nasturtium and poppies, both of which seem to thrive on cracks in the pavement, so may be able to cope better with a little drought compared to the leafy chard.

    • Helen says:

      Very observant of you 😊. Yes, the nasturtiums are better than ever and these poppies would survive Armageddon.

      It was supposed to rain today but nothing so far 😕.

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