The creation of hugelkulture beds requires massive amounts of wood waste. And people pay good money to get rid of branches and tree stumps.
So this makes for a perfect off farm source of income and an abundant source of biomass for city dwellers who are unlikely to have great quantities of wood lying around. You are also bound to fall into plenty of good firewood.
I did tree pruning professionally for a few years and had to pay to get rid of this material. Most days I produced more than one heavily laden pickup truck full of waste. Not only did I spend money dumping, I also spent a chunk of every day traveling to and from the branch dump. Had I been in a position to haul this stuff home the whole operation would have been more profitable and more efficient. I'm getting back into the business in a small way just until my beds are finished. On large lot clearing projects I will use 40 yard containers to transport the material. I'll still use my pickup truck so that I can keep good firewood and fencepost material separate from the rot pile.
If setting up a landscaping business is not your thing you can still get paid to create your hugelkulture beds simply by finding landscapers who produce this material. There may be some concern with herbicides and pesticides when gathering grass and other garden waste but plenty of trees never get sprayed.
I have a landscape maintanece business in north Florida and everything comes home with me to be used as mulch or compost. I was burning the larger stuff once a year untill I read about how to make the beds from logs and larger branches and it has been about 8 months sence I burned so I have a lot to work with. Over winter I will start a couple of 100 ft beds in an area that has a slight slope to it. It is great I get paid to haul on average a 16x6x4 trailor full of yard waist a week.
Folks around here regularly burn massive piles of pine tree waste (basically the stuff under about 6" that they can't be bothered cutting up for firewood). Could that be collected and used in hugelkultur, or would it's alleopathy (is that even a word) screw up the soil?
I've been collecting logs after Hurricane Irene. wow - lots of scrap wood. These logs were under water of the Raritan River - I'm not sure how polluted it is, but it is polluted. I think that since they will be on the bottom of the pile, covered by wood chips, then various kinds of compost, then soil, it is not a problem.
As with everything else, it depends. What is the river polluted with? And, were the logs green, or long dead when they went into the river?
A fresh, green log will absorb very little external moisture, whereas an old, half decayed log will absorb like a sponge. Depending on what kind of trees they were, a good percentage of whatever they absorbed would first be absorbed into the more porous bark than into harder wood.
If you are concerned, a tool such as a draw plane, or spoke shave could be used to remove most of the bark. Since the river is a source of drinking water in the region, the pollutants are probably not that serious. Check with the water treatment plants for data on what pollutants you are dealing with. That data should be a part of the public record.
Good luck. Every disaster brings small benefits as well.
Phil H wrote: Folks around here regularly burn massive piles of pine tree waste (basically the stuff under about 6" that they can't be bothered cutting up for firewood). Could that be collected and used in hugelkultur, or would it's alleopathy (is that even a word) screw up the soil?
I bought my property nine years ago. It was logged 10 years ago so the first thing I did was hired my younger brother to gather together big slash piles and burn it all. It took him a week and cost me $700 . Not too bright, but I'm much better now. I did make a small 100 ft.² rot pile containing tree branches and lots of scotch broom which is a legume containing plenty of nitrogen. I had no idea at the time that it was creating a hugelculture bed but that's what has happened so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for that one . Turns out I'm a gardening genius after all.
It's funny I'm just reading this now. I just had a conversation with a guy here in Northern Virginia. I stopped my car after seeing a guy chopping down trees. The guy had a huge pile of mulch from his chipper and a pile of logs. I asked him what he'll do with the waste and he said he'd bring it to the dump from there.
I told him if he's in my area and wants to drop off a pile of logs and mulch, I'll take it. Pretty good deal for just starting out on the farm here.
When I set up my kids play set, I had Davy tree removal deliver several loads of chips for free. For grow beds you want to make sure you don't get too much cedar or other rot resistant woods. We got one load that was mostly cedar and other evergreens and this made a path that lasted quite a while. I added some chipped Alder to the garden and two years later it was completely rotted.
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The Permaculture Playing Cards are a great gift for a gardener