Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Hugelkultur workshop shows how to eliminate yard waste, watering

Derek Downey, founder of the Bee Love School of Permaculture, is helping gardeners create hugelkultur beds. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Before throwing old wood or pruned tree branches into the green-recycle waste bin, consider recycling them into a living sponge that will save you from higher water bills and your garden from wilting.

Modeled after the nutrient-rich and sponge-like effects that fallen trees create on forest floors, hugelkultur is a self-sustaining, self-sufficient permaculture gardening technique that, supporters say, accelerates and improves nature’s natural processes by improving water storage in soil.

“The hugel bed is part bio-intensive compost pile and raised garden bed,” said Derek Downey, founder of the Bee Love School of Permaculture. “It saves water and makes use of resources that otherwise people would throw away.”

Hugelkultur gardening bed’s primary ingredient is wood — either placed in a 3-foot-deep hole or directly on the soil, covered with other compostable food scraps, leaves, straw or yard waste, and topped off with soil and a cover crop of legumes for the first year to add nitrogen.

The wood and materials retain water like a sponge, relieving gardeners of the need to maintain and water their gardens.

“Hugelkultur is a lot of work at first,” said Melanie Lataste, founder of the Davis Seed Savers Alliance. “But it is a long-term investment.”

Downey, a 2009 UC Davis biological systems engineering graduate, first built handicap-accessible, 3-foot-tall raised hugel beds at the Domes on the UCD campus, allowing individuals in wheelchairs access to gardening and to reduce bending and stooping.

“That way, in the summer, you don’t have to irrigate,” said Downey, who likes to refer to the increasing hugel popularity as “the re-hilling of Davis.”

“Now all the ‘Domies’ are doing hugel beds,” he said.

Downey has since designed and constructed several hugelkultur gardening beds at the Davis Bee Sanctuary on campus and at the Village Homes Sunwise Co-op where he lives, developing a perennial food forest and teaching garden.

“My style is, do it a little different every time, and see what works the best,” Downey said.

He built his most recent hugelkultur bed base from a giant prickly pear cactus in his back yard whose branches are breaking from the weight of its outstretched arms. Downey dug a swale around the bed’s perimeter to catch and allow rainwater to seep into the knoll.

Lataste said the most exciting part of hugelkultur is creating a sustainable human ecosystem using waste as a resource.

“We want to make sure this garden can thrive without watering,” she said.

Downey and Lataste are hosting a “Hugel-mania” workshop Saturday, March 16, offering hands-on experience building new hugel beds from scratch at both the Davis Bee Sanctuary and the Seed Savers Alliance Seed Garden. The workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Orchard Park Circle and Orchard Park Drive on the UCD campus.

Additional informative talks will include permaculture techniques, bees and seed saving. Downey and Lataste also will offer guided walking tours showcasing dozens of hugelkultur beds of various designs at the Davis Bee Sanctuary, Dome gardens, Experimental College Community Gardens and the Seed Savers Alliance Seed Garden.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted with gratitude for the Bee Love School of Permaculture. For more information, contact Downey at davisbeecharmers@gmail.com or 310-694-2405.

Matthew Blackburn

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
 
Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8