15 February, 2014

How to honeyhole.

After exploring trench mulching a lot in  my garden I decided to adopt some of the principles that govern honeyholes and fertility trenches.

The main variation from my past practices are:
  • tear up the newspaper and cardboard
  • mix it with green mulch and manure 
  • add water (even urine!) to the mix
  • let it marinate
  • ram the mix into the honeyhole
This is still an experiment.
  1. Honeyholes should be standard depth and diameter. In my established garden I keep them to a forearm's depth. 
  2. Honeyholes' location should always be marked.
When positioning your honeyhole remember that its contents may be a tad strong for some nearby plants. So remember: Location. Location. Location.

If creating new beds, long trenches would be more apt.

When watering the garden, be sure to always hose your honeyholes so that they absorb more water for slower local distribution. 

A honeyhole  is a pulpy version of a slow watering terracotta pot irrigator...and my presumption is that any fertilising is spread by the creatures of the soil especially worms. I'm thinking that juxtaposing terracotta pot irrigation with honeyholes makes a lot of gardening sense --esp on my sandy soils


I've found that my garden takes in moisture unevenly. This is a product of how much carbon matter is in my sandy soils...but other factors come into play.

Mulch can shield the underlying soil from getting wet...especially if precipitation is often light. While using terracotta pots for irrigation will get regular  moisture below that layer , the pots'  seepage envelope  can only reach so far.

The honeyholes serve as supplementary irrigators as their carbon/cellulose content hold moisture and their vertical alignment ferry moisture below the mulch layer. They are like so many wells. 

If I had planning options I'd alternate terracotta pots with honeyholes and let the worms work out their daily lifestyle. But as much vermiculture proves, a good worm colony will spread the fertility everywhere they go -- moving carbon about like dodgen cars. 

My other experiments with additions -- such as laying down rolled up newspaper and logs on top of my soil, in hugelkultur fashion -- have not been very successful. The cellulose needs to be buried, encased in soils and its biota. 

So these little mine shafts --adapted from my trench mulching experiments -- may suit my conditions. Filling them is like stuffing cannoli. 

 But a few question remain:
  1. How many freshly made honeyholes/how far apart can I insert in the one garden bed?
  2. How close can I locate a honeyhole to a growing plan or a freshly planted seedling?
  3. What happens to the hole once its contents has rotted down? Do I refill the space with more 'honey' or with the soils I initially  set aside -- and dig a fresh hole elsewhere?