Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hugelkultur modifications

I have an update for our Hugelkultur bananas, we started at the beginning of April. Not even a full month has passed by. But when we first planted our hugelkultur bed, I was worried brush turkey's and our lone free-range chicken, would scratch up the beds.

Image taken at dusk ~ click to enlarge

Our new brush turkey's, have taken up residence at our place. Even going so far as perching in the tree, near the back of our house, at night. It's a tall tree so that makes them exceptional flyers. We've only ever seen two, at a time (one male and one female) but recently saw one male and three females, strutting through the backyard. They must have all hatched from the same nest, because they're not quite fully grown.

But wreak havock on the hugelkultur bed, they did! Which is why it now looks like this...


The new banana plants, have fallen into decline, and there are several reasons for this. It didn't help that many brush turkey's, our own domestic chicken and a flock of Dovetail pigeons, all decided to ransack the old coop bedding, for remnant seeds.

Over several weeks, they managed to peel back the mulch and cast bedding all over the ground. This started to dry the bananas out. So the remnants of our neighbours', fallen tree, came to the rescue again.

Using nearby resources

We put a lot of the spindly bits (above) into the hugelkultur bed itself, when we were building it. But the tree trunk and larger branches, remained hidden in the grass. Until yesterday, that is, when David got the hatchet out and broke the rest of the tree up. It was placed over the hugelkultur beds, and upon checking this morning (normally when the brush turkey's are at it, for breakfast) the hugelkultur bed, was left untouched.

I actually don't know how long the brush turkey's will stick around with me taking valuable food stuffs, off their menu. A birds' got to eat! While I'm tempted to feel bad about it, they're better off eating their natural diet anyway.

A new leaf emerges

I can't completely blame the ground foragers for setting our bananas back, however, because its evident nitrogen burn has effected its leafs. Which would be due to the fact, the bedding hadn't aged all that much, and chicken manure is high in nitrogen. I didn't think there was too much of it to make a difference, but these potted bananas had lived a privileged life, beforehand.

The good news is, the new leafs coming through, aren't showing signs of nitrogen burn, yet. So there may be hope yet.

Banana sucker

This sucker, actually came up from the parent tree trunk, we placed inside the hugelkultur bed. So it hasn't the same kind of nitrogen burn as the other plants, as its still being fed from the parent trunk. This trunk has no roots, so is unable to take up the excess nitrogen

I'm fairly confident the bananas will pull through. I'm also much relieved, we no longer have to worry about ground foragers, digging up our hard efforts.


  1. I have 4 blackbirds digging and kicking mulch everywhere and they drive me mad, but brush turkeys!! I'd be beside myself with frustration.

    1. I remember you mentioning the black birds before. I did a bit of research and discovered they were an introduced species, not a native one. So all the more frustrating, no doubt.

      The turkey's do drive me a little mad at their antics, but they're too darn cute to be mad for long, lol.

  2. So you have a lone free-range chicken like our Sally Girl too, Chris? I can't believe the damage she does and I hope my husband builds a new chicken coop soon so she can go in there with the other chooks. We did have bananas growing up here on the hill many years ago and I saw some pawpaw trees growing the other day but I dare say they won't last long. The one fruit that grows really well without any TLC is the tamarillo which we don't really like :-)

    1. Yes, our single free-range chicken, gets picked on in the coop, so she's allowed outside to escape during the day. Though I've had to keep them in the past few days, because I've noticed a new dog in the neighbourhood, entering our yard.

      I've heard the tamarillo is a fruit you either like or hate. So maybe an acquired taste? I wonder if it does well in a relish, or chutney?


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