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Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread  RSS feed

 
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Location: Lakeland, FL
forest garden hugelkultur
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I just built my first hugelkultur bed on our property in North Carolina. I used 2 8 foot logs for the base, and then added smaller logs, limbs, and sticks. I built it as an experiment, as we will be moving there and building in 5-6 years. Since the soil there is very clay rich, it sounds as though hugelkultur would be excellent in helping to fulfill my homesteading dreams. If I can figure out how to upload pictures, I'll show its progress.
 
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entrailer Hatfield wrote:Paul and THC,

Thanks for your replies.

Yep, you are right it def does depend.
But what I am looking for is tolerances, minimums.
I am temperate UK, northern.
Be good to get your input generally before I tell you my intentions. Because I don't want to look at this as an individual case, rather one end of the scale; when planting trees/perens on to unrotted biomass.

As for your pics online. I've viewed these many times. However what would be great is if you have any pics of this bed in production over the years since it was done that would be great also.

Thanks again,
Niels



I just built a few hugel dugels in my yard in coastal northern California. I used mostly old lumber that had serious rot issues as well as some old rotty logs. I covered in with an inch to inch and a half of wood chips and then about the same of the thick clay soil we have. Then I dusted it all with some nice potting soil, less than an inch for sure. So far everything is growing decently, I have some huge squash that I transplanted and some sunflowers that are doing well. Greens are growing strong. Beets are struggling and one of the mounds didn't really take well at all and is being taken over by grass. But the point in this context is, the minimum can be pretty small, I have less than 2 inches of anything you could call soil ontop of straight up wood piles and things are growing great out of it.
 
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Hello, I just built my first 2 hugelbeets, each in the shape of a semi-circle, about 3' high and 8-10' around. I'd like to say they're going well since I was super excited to build them, but I'm having a horrible gopher problem (and rabbits, but I think I can get a handle on them). I did not build a trench, but built the hugels on top of the ground and put 1/2" hardware cloth down before piling on the wood. The gophers are climbing right up the side of the beds and making tunnels all over the place. I really do not want to go back and build raised beds, but I also want some vegetables after all my hard work! Was wondering if putting a rock edging may deter them?  Thoughts/ideas??

2nd question: How can you tell how often to water the beds? I know this depends greatly on location (I'm in Northern CA), but I'm not sure how to gauge it since the soil doesn't ever seem particularly dry or wet. I have not had a veggie garden in over 10 years but I recall I watered about 3x/week with regular raised beds.

Apologize if these questions seem silly...have missed gardening greatly and, while I enjoy experimenting, I also want to have a fairly productive adventure! I have 4 more hugels that are ready for the compost/soil addition but waiting to see the yield on the first two before putting in all that work.
 
Posts: 176
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
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Yay for huglekulturs!  Here is a video of our recent planting.

 
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Hi! Newbie to permies.com...found you all after reading an article on Munchies about a man using hugelkultur to grow tropical fruit bearing trees in the Rocky Mountains.

I live in a semi-arid desert area of British Columbia, Canada, and I'm VERY interested in using hugelkultur to improve the soil quality in my backyard. My husband and I just moved into a beautiful 105 year old home in July and I took the summer to make a plan for beds and planting since I want to make the best use of the space. The good news, the yard is completely flat (unusual for my area) and has been untended for at least the last 5-8 years (from what we've heard from our neighbours; I should mention its in a somewhat urban area of town. The sorta-bad news (based on my newbie reading of this thread) there is no sod really to speak of as the land has been taken over by whatever weeds could survive the blistering heat of summer without any irrigation.

My question is....can I use the invasive trees and weeds that we clear from the yard to start a raised bed? I couldn't tell you what species the tree is, but it has leaves sort of resembling a Chinese Elm. I've messaged another group in my town with a picture of the tree in the hopes that someone can help me identify it.

Thanks so much for your help!
 
Posts: 278
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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You can use pretty much anything but redwood or cedar (highly tannic and well preserved). I would make sure those invasives or weeds are truly dead, as I have apples and plums sprouting from my beds regularly after using prunings, though this is not really a problem. For weeds I'd just make a weed tea with them to ensure they are dead and then use them in the bed.
 
Megan Schultz
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Great! Thanks Ben.

I have confirmation on my Elm suspicion, and narrowed down to Siberian elm. I guess my only concern now would be the seeds infiltrating the raised beds....


Ben Zumeta wrote:You can use pretty much anything but redwood or cedar (highly tannic and well preserved). I would make sure those invasives or weeds are truly dead, as I have apples and plums sprouting from my beds regularly after using prunings. For weeds I'd just make a weed tea with them to ensure they are dead and then use them in the bed.

 
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Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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I've got a 4x12' raised bed that I'd like to convert into a hugelkultur bed. It's already full of awesome soil but I'm all for more awesomeness. Can I just dig down and lay in some Live Oak logs that are halfway rotted already? They're just in the useless log pile now. I don't have much use for firewood here.
 
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Yes Leslie, I live in the Sandhills area of South Carolina. I bury wood and compost all of the time.  Many areas here are pure sand and I find burying organic matter the best way to build a good soil.  If you want to help it along even further add some worms to the hole or trench. 
 
Leslie Russell
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Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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Jeanine Gurley Jacildone wrote:Yes Leslie, I live in the Sandhills area of South Carolina. I bury wood and compost all of the time.  Many areas here are pure sand and I find burying organic matter the best way to build a good soil.  If you want to help it along even further add some worms to the hole or trench. 


Thank you so much, Jeanine! Your gardens are beautiful. Years ago I had much the same thing. Trying to make this as visually appealing is a challenge. I appreciate your advice and will take your suggestions. We have very few worms here, at least I haven't found any during the digging several holes into the "soil" of 5 acres. I've imported them and they wander off 😒 but I'll do it again. The raised bed I'll be working on has great soil so I'm ahead of the game there. Thank you for your encouragement!
 
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Location: Salem, oregon
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paul wheaton wrote: I like to plot out the bed, lay on the wood, and then dig down about a foot and pile that on top of the bed.  So you end up with a foot of soil on top of the wood.   If you had a lot of wood, the first year  that bed will be okay.  The second year will be better.  The third year will be excellent.



I do the same.  I set that top soil off to the side of my trench on contour.  I pile in the wood and branches and then I let that pile sit.  It becomes my compost pile for weeds and kitchen scraps.  When I feel like closing out that berm I cover it with the top soil; just like frosting a cake!

I plant my trees and shrubs on it right away.  Then I aply layer of mulch or decomposed straw.
 
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I must say I feel sorta "lucky" here with lotsa dead rotting birch around me. Maybe a sign of the times or maybe a natural cycle -- whichever rotting birch is great for holding water and decidely fits into the garden (by it's deciduousness). I've only made two, thus far. Planned to do more, but after reading this I wanna revamp all but our whole farm this way. Read Holzer but this time it clicked, sunk in....  Much Thanks to & for Paul, OgreNick
 
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