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North Garland High School Key Club members install the large logs that will form the bottom layer of the hugelkultur.  These logs, most of which are already in some stage of decay, will continue to decay, thus providing nutrients and storing water needed to nourish the plants in this bed. - October 6, 2015  Garland Texas

On Tuesday, October 6, members of the North Garland High School Key Club, assisted by members of Loving Garland Green, completed the second stage of the installation of a butterfly garden on the school grounds--installing hugelkulturs. 

Loving Garland Green member Kevin Keeling (in the red cap) works with members of the North Garland High School Key Club in preparing the large bed in front of the school sign to become a hugelkultur--October 6, 2015 Garland Texas.

During this second stage we dug down about ten inches in four of the smaller beds.  In this cavity we placed large decayed logs, twigs, brown and green organic matter and manure.  These layers were all watered thoroughly before we placed the soil we removed on top of this organic matter.  In the larger bed in front, which is actually more like a container, the students dug down about two feet before placing the logs and other organic matter.

Typically, the ideal way to build a hugelkultur is to place the logs and organic materials on top of the soil and build up a mound that is about three feet high.  We varied from this and disturbed the soil by digging (not something we normally recommend).  We did this for economical reasons to save the cost of purchasing the soil required to build on top.  Since the soil we removed was only exposed for about an hour, we surmise that we didn’t murder that many microbes.

North Garland High School Key Club members preparing one of the four smaller beds for a hugelkultur. October 6, 2015 Garland, Texas.

On Thursday we will add some Azomite, molasses and expanded shale to the beds and install the plants. 

For the first month until the plants are established— until just about time for the first killing frost—the students have a watering schedule of three times a week.  By spring, we are hoping that no more supplemental watering will be required.

When spring arrives, we will monitor the plants carefully regarding their needs for water and nutrients.  If it appears they need more than nature is providing, our next step will be to install a form of trench composting.  These are wire baskets about two feet tall.  They are inserted about six to eight inches in the bed.  Uncooked waste from vegetable bins is placed in these baskets (that lettuce that never made it to the table for a salad and a squishy tomato or squash).  Crumpled newspaper is placed on top to mask any odor and to discourage pests. 

Our goal is to have a self-sustaining butterfly garden ecosystem that will need only a little assistance from human beings.

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