HOW IT WORKS
"If we want clean water, we have to get the biology back in our soils. If we want to grow & harvest crops, we have to build soil and fertility with time, not destroy it.
The only way to reach these endpoints is to improve the life in the soil"
- DR. ELAINE INGHAM
GARDEN REGENERATIVELY WITH OUR DIY GUIDES
We farm vegetables, & flowers with Hügelkultur
Hügelkultur is an ancient German farming technique focused on breathing life into the soil in order for the soil to breathe life into our vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
We fill our Hügels with layers of wooden logs, straw, and compost material. The layers are then covered with soil.
Over time, the layers decompose, providing nitrogen and other nutrients helping microbial life in the soil thrive. When microbial life thrives, our plants thrive.
Combined with our companion planting practices, hügelkultur helps ensure we never have to use pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides.
by farming with Hügelkultur we:
we farm microbes, microbes farm the earth
when you practice Hügelkultur in your home garden, you help bring your community's soil back to life, reduce food waste, offset your carbon emissions, and protect your health. & it's easy to do in just five easy steps!
Step 1: Dig a Trench
Dig a trench for the base of your hügel. Your trench should be a few feet deep & as long as you intend your raised bed to be.
Step 2: Add a layer of logs
Add a layer of logs or large branches as the first layer in
Step 3: Add a layer of compost & straw
Add compost from your home or garden and straw as the second layer in your hügel
Step 4: Build your mound
Repeat the two layers, switching off until you have a mound. Top off your mound with a layer of soil & a layer of straw.
Step 5: Plant Your Crops
Plant diverse crops & watch them grow into a thriving food forest.
DIY: EASY BACKYARD COMPOSTING
We compost to sequester carbon, offset methane emissions, eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, create soil preferred by microbes, and to advance our journey to becoming a zero waste farm.
Turn your food & yard scraps into soil while offsetting greenhouse gases!
HOW COMPOSTING WORKS
During decomposition microorganisms consume nitrogen and carbon containing waste breaking it down into nutrients. A well-managed compost pen can break waste down in as little as three weeks when properly mixed every 3-7 days. Every year, we make our soil with last year's composted waste.
food scraps (nitrogen)
leaves & yard trimmings (nitrogen)
twigs & branches (carbon)
1 Ensure your compost bin has plenty of air holes to allow for aerobic respiration. Flip your compost very 3-5 days to help with air flow and to keep it mixed.
2 Add water to your compost every time you flip it to support your growing microorganism population. Your compost should be moist but not soaked.
3 Add soil or existing compost from your garden to establish your microorganism community.
HOW TO BUILD A COMPOST BIN
1) Place four stakes in a square in the ground to make a 4x4 sized pen
2) Wrap your stakes with chicken wire on all sides, leaving the top of the pen open
3) Add a layer of brown twigs, sticks, & dried leaves (carbon) to the pen
4) Add a layer of green grass & lawn trimmings (nitrogen)
5) Add a layer of veggie scraps (nitrogen)
DIY: EASY WORM FARM
At Bird Valley, worms play a crucial role in our regenerative farming by creating essential nutrients for our plants.
Earthworms plough through soil, eating decaying organic matter digesting it into nutrient-rich worm castings to power a healthy soil-food-web.
SAFER FOR YOUR PLANTS
Worm castings, known as vermicast are an effective alternative to fertilizers which can burn plants' roots, kill worms, and contaminate soil and water.
Build your own worm farm!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
2 5-gallon containers
1 container lid
two or three brick, blocks, or pieces of wood
torn or shredded cardboard
food for your worms
red wiggler worms
Create airflow for your worms
to thrive by drilling holes in only one of the 5-gallon containers
Drill 1/8" holes every two inches all along the bottom of the bin
Drill 1/4" holes every two inches along the outside of the bin, a few inches from the top of the bin
SEVEN EASY STEPS
Add a mixture of the torn/shredded cardboard & soil to the 5-gallon container with the holes in it, fill the bin about three inches deep
Add enough water to dampen the mixture
Add your worms into the mixture & let them settle one day before feeding them
Make sure your mixture is moist but not wet enough to form puddles
Add your bricks/blocks/wood pieces to the bottom of your second 5-gallon container
Place your bin with the worms inside the bin without the holes so that the bottom bin can collect excess moisture
Collect your worm castings from the bin to make a compost tea or add to your soil directly
FEEDING YOUR WORMS
HOW TO FEED YOUR WORMS
Worms love to eat:
most fruits & veggies
minimal coffee grounds
minimal broken egg shells
Food to avoid:
meat & dairy
Feed your worms finely chopped foods to make digestion easier and more efficient.
Worms seem to have no trouble eating & in fact seem to love melons, but will struggle with the rind.