Backyard farming: sweet potato & earthworm harvest // Hugelkultur soil results

sunflower sweet potato vine tomatoes
Hugelkultur makes seriously fertile soil

Several months ago, I tried to convert a 3×4 ft plot of grass into my own version of a “Hugelkultur garden” — an interesting composting type of garden bed based on permaculture principles that supposed to mimic decaying forest matter.

I made the mistake of not breaking up the wood and placing them closer together. The big gaps between the pieces of wood led to the creation of epic nests for an extended Ohana of mice!

That’s not to say it was a total failure tho.

Volunteer Sweet Potatoes and Huge Juicy Earthworms

I’m most grateful to have been gifted the chance to grow sweet potatoes. Thank you, Universe. They started sprouting like crazy from the piles of composting kitchen scraps thrown into the garden. Filmed the resulting sweet potato and earthworm harvest:

The resulting soil just 8 months later is quite rich with tons of organic matter and life. Look close in the video…creepycrawlies everywhere! THAT creates super soil. I gave some of the earthworms to my fishies and and tossed the rest into our aquaponic grow beds.

As you can see, I had to pull out all the sloooowly rotting wood and hay. Note to future self and readers: break up the wood more and pretend you’re playing tetris to leave the SMALLEST gaps between the pieces.

Life Breeds Life — Worms, Mice, & Productive Plants

Aside from the mouse and slug issues, the hugelkultur garden was a raging success. From that lil patch of ground, we harvested plenty salad greens, herbs, corn, sunflowers, and more.

from baker creek corn seeds
Hooker’s Indian Sweet Corn from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Most successful have been all the juicy tomatoes and super productive beans — which are still growing strong despite all my digging around. And of course, the sweet potatoes!

lima beans growing
Speckled lima beans – super easy to grow on the edges of the hugelkultur garden

We also scored a bunch more of those sweet potatoes from a few vine cuttings I took from the hugel bed months ago and transplanted into 7 gallon containers. Here’s a video of that harvest — not too shabby for free food!

As an alternative means to compost our kitchen and garden scraps, we started a bunny farm and bunny poop vermicomposter on the other side of the house. VERY fast and effective, plus sooo much cleaner and cuter (the bunnies! OMG). Pics and another video coming soon. Subscribe for future updates!

Happy farming fellow humans 🙂

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