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Underground swale?
Hi everybody.

Well, I was thinking, could a sort of swale be made under a dug huggel bed? I mean, dripping the water of my gutters in there, on 16ft or so of length, so the bottom of the huggel bed would always be damp?
How would you migrate the water down the bed?

Underground French drain tiles or some gravel filled swale?
(1 like)
You might want to consider this link before you do this. Jack Spirko: Hugul Swale/Don't article Permaculture News.

Now if you have your hugul primarily underground, or your ground is not very sloped that mitigates most of the problem addressed in this link. You could have a pipe going down to a french drain gravel swale in the base of the trench that the hugul logs sit on, as Chadwick H states. I would definitely go with gravel rather than tiles or perforated pipe, so that the woody core has direct access to the water, and as they rot and break down the wood layer and fungi will mesh more and more with the water source. It might be tricky to figure out the depth of gravel that you would need, for the below two reasons:

I think it would depend on your soil. The trench swale underneath a bed might act as drainage, drawing moisture out of your bed via gravity, if the subsoil is coarse/aggregate based
and super draining.

I think it would also depend on your rainfall: whether the roof will provide adequate water to fill the trench and get into the woody material enough to offset the gravity drainage, with an aggregate trench below the wood.
The wood below grade seems to remain damp even in my droughty climate: http://www.permies.com/t/52077/hugelkultur/Buried-Wood-Beds

Ok, point taken
One thing that I'm considering downhill of my housing site, is having a pond with chinampas in it, and having them extend beyond the pond onto 'dry' land. Nutrients and moisture get wicked away from the pond into large above grade hugulkultur beds that are directly connected to these chinampa extensions. The pond would have an overflow that never threatens to flood the hugulkultur beds, but would always provide them with sub-surface irrigation.

If you were to follow a similar model, your pond could be filled by the roof runoff/gutters.
Thanks a lot Roberto.

Not possible where I am. Not much room, and the land is at the bottom of the valley, rather flat.

But a French drain, filled with a mixture of straw, wood and rocks, mixed with earth. and a nice topsoil above.

Or something along the way.
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