lilkittay said: I’m very curious where you will be planting all these trees. I’ve always wanted to start something like this. Planting tons of trees, everywhere I can sneak them in! I don’t know where to start! Please help me.

Also, how do I find conifer seeds? When I pick up cones, they are always empty?

I’ve had the best luck pulling ripe cones off the tree. The seeds start falling out when the cones open, however, and they are a food source for birds and other small animals. You have the get there before the birds do!

As for what I do with all these trees:

When I germinate wild/local trees, I nurse them though the seedling stage, then plant them out in my local area in disturbed sites, or offer them for free to neighbours.

I also keep many trees in pots, and many planted quite close together in the yard: I keep most of them artificially small through pruning, pollarding, and coppicing, and use the wood for hügelkultur, wood chip mulch, firewood, biochar, trellises, and wattle. This way, I can grow a large number of trees without them crowding each other out, and organically grow most of the materials I need for soil building .

I hope that helps!


Sifting worm compost, a garden chore I’ve put off far too long. All the stuff too big for the 1/4” screen - avocado pits, eggshells, twigs - is going into the bottom of the hot compost bin for another round of breaking down. The Ecology Action compost method puts all the big sticks at the bottom of the pile, so I thought I’d give it a try.

#compost #vermicompost

(via hqcreations)

The last of the Scarlet Runner Beans. We had a good run.

The size difference between a newly harvested bean from a green pod and a dried bean from a brown pod is pretty staggering. It’s a good reminder that most of what we eat, and are, is water!

There was a colossal amount of plant matter to deal with after the final harvest, because each bean plant was over 3 metres tall, with 3-4 vines per plant.

About 1/4 of the plant matter from the beans has been shredded, and re-mulched into the same area: nitrogen-fixing legumes like beans do add nitrogen to the soil while they are alive, but they also hold a large amount of the nitrogen they create in their foliage: therefore it’s important to compost legumes, or use them as green manure, in order to maximise the efficiency of your garden system. In their place, I have planted a small fall crop of snow peas.

The other 3/4 of the plant matter is going on top of one of my hugelkultur mounds, just before I cover them with soil, newspaper, and bark chips, and stabilise them by planting shrubs. The decomposing leaf matter generates heat in the mounds, and this creates a small, warmer microclimate for the plants in the vicinity, while encouraging faster root growth and penetration in the colder months.

Using garden waste to build enclosed mounds is a part of the water-management strategy for this space as well. We are not very high above sea level, have a high water table, a lot of rain, and a collapsed gabion that fails to provide enough drainage. As such, the yard is prone to flooding.

Building organic mounds in your yard with garden waste will over time draw water up, with capillary action, or wicking (especially given they have an abundance of hyper-absorbent organic matter inside of them), and also increase the surface area for evaporation.

Disposing of your yard waste in this way is also a form of carbon /greenhouse gas sequestration. The gasses that are emitted as plant matter breaks down are  somewhat contained, or at least released into the atmosphere as a slower rate when concentrated in reservoirs such as these, that are surrounded by air-filtering plant matter.

#beans #soil science


So my boyfriend just bought a house and it came with this dinky little glasshouse. Over the past couple of days I have been scavenging all the organic matter I could from around the property to make some nice hugelkultur-themed raised beds that will hopefully be functional and productive.

1. Harvested old bricks to build the walls.

2. Raided the kindling box for pinecones and small sticks.

3. Layered all the cardboard we had in the house for unpacking.

4. More kindling.

5. Added compost from the pile that was in varying stages of decomposition. Did a bit of weeding and chucked those in.

6. Began dismantling an ugly old camellia that was blocking the drive and added those bits plus some soil I stole from an outside bed.

7. Pruned a kowhai (native leguminous tree) and piled on the trimmings. Added another layer of bricks with gaps.

8. Discovered a bin full of two years’ worth of fallen leaves. On they went. Planted strawberries in the gaps in the walls.

9. Found a deep litter of needles under the one massive pine tree. Covered this with a generous sprinkling of lime to balance the p.H. and add calcium.

10. Finished it off with a thick layer of more soil borrowed from the tired old outdoors raised beds. Planted it with a first crop of salad greens and broad beans to help improve and stabilise the soil in preparation for summer when I will be planting tomatoes, basil, capsicums, chillis and aubergines.
Dobby the kitten approves.

A very nice example of sheet mulching, a.k.a. “lasagna gardening." As the OP noted, these methods are very easily combined with hugelkultur.

(via misadventured-piteous-overthrows)


We took the hedge down from 12ft to 4ft last weekend. It is now a sad row of stumps, but we do have lots of firewood available!

You should try some hugelkultur!


The many uses of straw in the garden! I am putting the 8 free straw bales to good use with 5 straw bale gardens, and 3 bales for garden mulch.

I just finished that section of the brickwork path this last fall (1, 2, 3), made from bricks from the 1950s that I dug up in the garden. The raised beds are my new lasagna gardens, which are part hugelkultur as well.

You’ll have to excuse all the wires and chaos: my husband is a radio amateur, and he has antennas all over the garden right now.

#straw bale gardening #mulch #DIY

Mini wattle fence, to hold the herbs in the herb spiral.


Wattle fences and retaining walls can easily be built from the leftovers of pruning, or from coppiced wood. This technique is the most basic form of fence construction, having been in use since Neolithic times.

I continually harvest apple, dogwood, willow, and hazelnut wood from designated coppicing trees in my yard, because these local species happen to grow both quickly and straightly. There are a number of “fences in progress” that are built higher every time I go around and maintain trees. Preparing materials is easy: I trim the bases of prunings down to sturdy fence posts of a uniform height and circumference; the rest I trim into flexible pieces for weaving the rest of the fence. The leftovers from all of this are piled up in #hugelkultur mounds. I hammer the posts down 1/3 of their height, and the rest is just simple weaving back and forth, between posts.

I have used this method for #raised beds, #straw bale gardens, and purely for aesthetic purposes with great success, but then again, I am not one to complain when it’s 100% free!


A big thank you to markruffalo for reblogging this and helping biodiverseed reach a wider audience. It’s oddly encouraging to know you are probably looking in that #permaculture tag with some regularity, just like the rest of us nerds.



Hugelkultur, meaning “hill culture” in German, is a method of raised bed gardening that uses decaying wood as a basis for building up a berm. Berms are useful in directing the flow of water, and protecting more delicate plants from prevailing wind damage.


(via markruffalo)

Veggie Bed #4

Cross section of a new no-dig, raised “lasagna” bed // summer growth.

I am mixing three different kinds of raised bed technique here to raise/even the grade, and create a workable soil surface without digging: lasagna gardening, straw bale gardening, and hugelkultur.

#Lasagna gardening is using newspaper or cardboard, layered with compost, in order to build up the height of a raised bed.

#Straw bale gardening is planting crops in fermenting straw bales, which provides heat, moisture retention, and nutrition to crops.

#Hugelkultur (“hill culture” in German) is building up the grade of the soil using logs, sticks, and other forms of wood, and covering with compost, which sequesters carbon, and provides a nutritious, well-drained, elevated, aerated substrate for plants.


  • Red Kuri Squash, planted in a straw bale (Thanks to desixlb for the seeds)
  • Scarlet Runner Beans, using an old crib as a trellis (Thanks to kihaku-gato for the seeds)
  • Hild’s Ideal Brussels Sprouts
  • Spring Onions

More (tagged as #biodiverseed veggie beds):  Veggie Bed #1Veggie Bed #2 - Veggie Bed #3Veggie Bed #5