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HugelBeds...alternatives for "sod"  RSS feed

 
Don Splitter
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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I'm building Hugel-Beds up in Ely, MN.  There really isn't any grass I can use for sod.  I would have to buy sod rolls, and bring them up.

Any suggestions for alternatives? 

Otherwise, I was just going to go with lots of downed Aspens, and Birch for the base.  I'm having 12yds of topsoil brought in, so I can build these beds.  There are plenty of good ledge rock chunks for perimeters. Ely doesn't have blackdirt per say.  I'll be building 6 different beds in 3 different areas.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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just cover the logs with soil, cover the soil with mulch and your good to go.

sod is just used because most people are replacing lawn with hugelbeds. ive never used sod on any of mine and they perform great.
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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i'm experimenting with some hugel-ish beds too... i built raised beds about a foot high. tilled the insde and dug out maybe 10" down(topsoil),filled in with semi decomposing logs,firewood,decomposing woodship mulch .covered that with all the topsoil,then rich compost/worm-castings,then planted out  with transplants and mulched it. these beds were 4x4,4x8 and 4x30'.

next experiment , i've got a large load of horse manure coming in 2 weeks. will dig out long sunken worm bins between my raised beds(the walking paths) and a 15x15 pit to put that down in with more 'firewood',fresh  woodchips etc, and let the worms feast .hopefully it'll be nice and ready for use early next spring and will have a good population of redworms to boot.
the sunken beds arent my idea, i saw it on this page and liked it..

http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Boxwood+Vermicomposting.html

mind you his are under a hoop-house,so not sure how i'll cover mine yet,plywood lids would weather and rot away left out in the rain and snow i would think...  i do plan to make a hoop house in the next month or so ,so mabe i'll just go with the ply.

PS.  the 15x15 bed will get topped with topsoil and mulch same as teh raised beds..i'll cover it in bulk cover-crops (clover,amaranth,fava beans etc) which i guess will also help replace nitrogen
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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i also didn't use any sod on mine as I had no sod that was being replaced, just add the same type of things to the top you would in any raised bed..or compost pile..and top it with some soil and mulch
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
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If you are buying in loose material you might consider just buying compost or a composted manure... (go to be some organic dairys up there in MN?)... a 3-way mix topsoil is often only 1/3 organic, and sometimes 1/3 sand... or the compost might just be composted bark -- pretty infertile stuff, and you might as well use your native soil mixed with a good rotted manure.  Don't know your situation though...
 
Don Splitter
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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Excellent!  Thanks for all the ideas... My cousin is actually a life time goat,sheep, and cattle farmer.  So, He's got plenty of compost I can use from him.  I'm actually going to have him start doing Hugel-beds, and have him start using some of these techniques.  It will be interesting seeing he's lived on a farm his whole life.  He's definitely your text book "farm boy", but he is the perfect guy to show these "permie" tricks to. 

My hope is that his neighbors will see what he's doing, and it will catch on to them.

I figured the sod was from the lawn that was replaced... 

Thanks again all!
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 136
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hubert cumberdale wrote:
just cover the logs with soil, cover the soil with mulch and your good to go.

sod is just used because most people are replacing lawn with hugelbeds. ive never used sod on any of mine and they perform great.


Do you use a border? if not, doesn't the soil wash away in a big rain?

I'm thinking of the mound shape in the pictures I've seen. Hence the concern. Maybe I should make it to be flat on top.

thanks,
ellen
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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ellenr, it dedends on the type of soil you're on. Sandy soils are bound to wash away, but even on my clay soils i found it advantageous to make them flat on top with as steep side as i could build. On the other hand, in the austrian mountains i've seen hugelbeds that came up to my armpits and werent flat on top, just mounds...


tribalwind, you wrote:
i've got a large load of horse manure coming in 2 weeks. will dig out long sunken worm bins between my raised beds(the walking paths) and a 15x15 pit to put that down in

and:
the 15x15 bed will get topped with topsoil and mulch same as teh raised beds..i'll cover it in bulk cover-crops (clover,amaranth,fava beans etc) which i guess will also help replace nitrogen


But it would seem you will not need to add anymore nitrogen after dumping a big amount of horse manure in that pit, unless you plan dumping an even bigger amount of logs in there... The manure is super-nitrogen rich isnt it? Or did i not understand it right?
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:
But it would seem you will not need to add anymore nitrogen after dumping a big amount of horse manure in that pit, unless you plan dumping an even bigger amount of logs in there... The manure is super-nitrogen rich isnt it? Or did i not understand it right?

probably equal amount or more of log/woody debris.  yes i dont think the extra nitrogen would be needed really, i just rather have something covering it to keep the weeds down,it is a flat area and will be planting beds next year so will sow some composting crops on it now.
 
David Miller
Posts: 286
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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the trick to covering is to find spoiled hay, for my area at least.
 
David Miller
Posts: 286
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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The reason people say to use sod is that it is what they have, use whatever form of dirt you have most of, be it filled with weeds or not.

splitrippin wrote:
I'm building Hugel-Beds up in Ely, MN.  There really isn't any grass I can use for sod.  I would have to buy sod rolls, and bring them up.

Any suggestions for alternatives? 

Otherwise, I was just going to go with lots of downed Aspens, and Birch for the base.  I'm having 12yds of topsoil brought in, so I can build these beds.  There are plenty of good ledge rock chunks for perimeters. Ely doesn't have blackdirt per say.  I'll be building 6 different beds in 3 different areas.
 
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