Since you asked Currdogg I’ll break it down.
I haven’t done the wood chips or any wood. If I could start over again I would rent an excavator dig down several feet and then fill it in good a foot or two with chips for the base.
I wish I knew about hügelkultur when I started.
I have two 10 x 16 raised beds that are 16 years old. I also have a 10 x 16 slab that I use as a greenhouse. I am mostly an outdoor grower. I only use the indoor lights to nurture clones and seedlings through the winter. I use the greenhouse to do seed experiments in the winter once the main bud crops are in and to keep my citrus alive through the winter. I have been playing with my own seed crosses for about 15 years now. I have been growing since I was about 15 or about 31years. I’m in the Seattle area so the number one thing I breed for is mold resistant above all things.
My basic cycle is I amend the heck out of the gardens in the off-season. And I don’t add much to it once things start going and growing. I really depend on the winter rains to mix and liquefy everything in my raised beds before spring planting. Only a little bit of mycoboost a couple times a season. Oh and I almost forgot. I do a lot of compost tea‘s too during the grow season. My favorite is to stuff a 5 gallon bucket with all the weeds from the yard. Especially the nasty ones like blackberries and thistles too. Then I float them to the brim with the hose water and a little bit of urine. Pop on the lid and forget about it for two or three weeks. And then it comes out like thick rich soup. Best damn anaerobic compost tea around is nasty weed soup. From being anaerobic it smells like death. But it is some great compost tea. Don’t get it on your shoes if you’re going out in public. I apply it during the rain or cut it at least 50% with water if I put it on the plants.
I have three compost tumblers to put my table scraps from 3 kids and 1 picky Bassett hound. My wife says I’m OCD about collecting table scraps. I’ll even look through the dust pan to get popcorn seeds or missed Cheerios. I put every thing to break down in my tumblers. I add bone, dairy, meat and all non waxy paper scraps. Amazon boxes too. Cardboard is great. It all goes in. The main reason it’s usually not suggested to add meat or dairy is because you can get pests like rodents. That’s where the compost Tumblr‘s come in to save the day. I have round metal ones that seal tight and are also up on metal stands. If you have ones that rest on the ground as you turn them or are cones where you bury them into the ground don’t add the meat or dairy. The rats will find a way in by digging and chewing. If it gets smelly just add grass clippings. Grass clippings kill the smell immediately and hellfire up the microbes. I would go as far as to say a good compost Tumblr is as important to an outdoor grow, as a good light is to an indoor grow. no fucking joke.
I would say the other variable in my equation is bio char and wood ash baby. I have added uncountable pounds of these materials to my raised beds over the years. They are wonderful and I can’t praise them enough. The wood ash adds potassium and is an alkaline buffer so all the compost doesn’t make your soil too acidic. Especially if you add citrus or citrus peels to your compost. The char acts as a nutrient sink and carbon sink. So all that compost i add to the garden doesn’t wash out with the rain and hose. I have also read several studies done in Yellowstone park that state so thick enough bio char you can make your garden carbon negative. You read that right. Your garden can be pulling CO2 out of the air and into the dirt. Just add char.
Also the mycelium seems to love to go in to the char. If I break open a fresh piece of char a couple of weeks after I turn it under it’s literally covered in hyphae from the mycoboost. The only other thing to add about char is it must be charged first. Or else it will literally steal the nutrients away from your plants roots in the garden. Then it has to charge itself. Never put raw char in the garden.
MDbuds has a very specific formula for charging char.
I just flood it in a bucket very similar to the weed soup compost tea. I load my bucket about half full of char and half of the compost. Then I flood it with urine. And put the lid on. And forget about it for at least two or three weeks. If it’s the grow season it stays like that until the crops are in. I have many buckets with lids.
Once the season is over I make a grid on my raised beds about 2x2. It’s a mental grid not an actual one with a rope. During the fallow season I try to dig as deep of a hole as I can in each grid spot. Then I try to do a mix of char and compost into each hole. Then I layer in as many leaves as I collect from around the neighborhood I can find In the fall. It all gets buried there in the older garden soil. Then I cap it with at least a 1 inch layer of coffee grounds. I have a little coffee stand up the road who loves to trade buds for spent grounds. Win win for all.
A side note about coffee grounds:
I have noticed that when I use coffee grounds as a cap I never have rodents burrow into my fallow raised beds. If I get lazy and forget about it once, they always seem to have a party in my compost pits. Coffee grounds make great compost in a growing bed too. But what I found is you have to spread them out very lightly and stir them into the soil. If you don’t they will actually cake up and make a hydrophobic layer on top of your soil. This will prevent your plants from getting water to the roots. All your water will just runoff to the side . I believe there’s some sort of fungus that grows in the coffee grounds that makes this mat so thick and hard. It looks kind of like the dog vomit fungus if you’ve ever seen such a thing. Anyway the coffee grounds left in a mat are counterproductive in a growing garden. If you put them in a growing garden just make sure to scatter lightly and stir in. Also, used coffee grounds have a neutral pH. They are NOT acidic contrary to popular belief. All the acids in coffee are water soluble and goes with the water into the pot that we drink. The spent grounds test closer to neutral.
Interestingly enough though, day-old coffee itself is a great liquid pH down. It also has lots of tannins in it which is great for the soil. If you fight high pH or KH in your water (like a well or limestone aquifer for your tap) day old pot o coffee is a great pH down. Try it.
The only other thing I add is azomite. I like to sprinkle a couple of handfuls in the spring right before planting. I do it at least once a year.
Thanks for reading
Of course I had to do an edit. Very occasionally and not on the regular I drive to the coast. In the winter after a big storm the kelp beds get ripped up real rough and deposited all over the beaches. I love to fill 5 gallon buckets with the rotting kelp. Float it with the water just like the weed compost soup. Once the kelp is all dissolved into a stinky soup and pour it into the garden just like compost tea. The plants definitely seem to dig it. I don’t rinse the low tide smell off the kelp at all…