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Help us create a massive Hugel mound/soundblocker in Texas (PICTURES)

 
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Hi all,

We live in rural TX and it's very quiet and peaceful. However, there's a brewery going in next door, only a few hundred yards away from our planned homesite. Nice guys, but sound carries here and breweries can be loud. We have a family, orchard/farm plans, so we need to construct some kind of sound blocker. And really, a vision blocker. We love gardening already, and have been doing small hugels for a while. Nothing of this scale. We plan to construct a 10-12 ft tall hill, and we want it to look very naturally shaped, and have native plants growing all over it. So, we put out a sign, and have been inundated with mulch drop offs.

Note that the big chunky chips are mostly really broken down to the point of compost inside of the mounds.




Dirt trucks started dumping fill. We're gonna stop taking the fill dirt dumps, because it's mostly caliche and rocks. Rocks will be useful in other parts of our acreage. Mass-wise though, we have enough of this stuff to create a massive mound, and go 3-4 feet of mulch/chips on top.



Here is the central location we want to construct the peak of our "mountain." You can see the brewery construction in the back.



Here's a mass of downed wood we've accumulated. Pretty fresh. Huge pile, hard to see the size though. Lots more of this available upon request/$.



RELATED: what's your suggestion for repairing and healing ground wounded by skid steers and dump trucks?



And for beauty's sake, since all this other stuff is ugly yet.



So, we have a mass of fresh wood. We have a mass of rough chipped mulch, heavily broken down with weeds growing out of it now (it's actually to the point of soil in the innermost parts.) A mass of fine chipped mulch. A mass of limestone fill. A mass of boulders. A mass of leaves. And now we need to construct.

Trying to think outside of the box here, so forgive me if my questions sound naive. Open to all suggestions/critiques.

What order would you lay things here? The limestone is kind of the problem that needs to be worked with.

Could we lay the caliche down as a base, and then put all the organic material on top? Or would you try to mix it into the organic material? Plenty of natives will grow in heavy caliche.

Since we have dry hot summers, would it be wise to lay the caliche in such a way to make a kind of giant "Pot/reservoir" with the organic material inside of and mounted on top?

Disregard the limestone altogether?

Would you try to find a bunch of manure/compost as well? Or just roll with what we got?

Thank y'all in advance.
 
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I'm loving the idea. Paul Wheaton has a big/tall one that blocks the main road.

On the skidsteer worn areas, i just sprinkle seeds over the bare areas periodically. Seed mix would vary on the season. Its not a bad thing. I see it as similar to mob grazing wirh cows where they trample,  just minus the manure and urine. I have had no issues wirh seeds coming up due to "compaction". Often i will seed it after a rain so the seed sticks to the wet ground. If its dry,  I might mulch with a light covering of hay(i have plenty of used hay from sheep/cows). In the fall i can get bales of wheat or oat that has seeds in it. This wotks great cause i am mulching and seeding at the same time.

On the hugel,  i would try to use it in a random way. A heavy section of limestone, a section without limestone. You can vary plantings based on the densities. Things like Texas persimmons, wild blackberries, agarita berries like the limestone since they are native to you. A heavy planting of these in the limestone areas should thrive with little inputs from you. Paul advocates this random pattern of not only what goes in it, but the shape. Adding curves and bends. It ceates sections of wind protection. Maybe pockets that dont freeze. Different amounts of light hitting different areas. I would guess that he would then super blitz it with seeds with no thought to where they go. Nature will sort out the zones for you by determing what grows where. Think of a little kid building the hugel and seeding it. Its random. Things thrown everywhere.

 
pollinator
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Kyle,
I'm reminded of a story about Sepp Holzer: he plants rare varieties of fruits that are used by local brewers, fruits that those brewers have a hard time sourcing nowadays. For schnapps, I think it was...?
I can't remember if I read it in one of his books or saw it on one of the YouTube videos about him.

Anyway, it may be interesting to coordinate some of your hügel plantings with the brew masters next door. Then the situation can be -as Bill Mollison puts it- a "win-win-win": the brew masters create specialty, local, terroir quality brews with specialty fruits grown in their backyard for their most discerning customers. You get your noise barrier, hügelkultur mound, & -if negotiated right- a fair, possibly even premium price for your product. I'm sure there are many other "wins" that will fractal out as well (eg. the mycelium will be happy).

Forgive me for not answering any of the questions in your OP. I just got excited about the possibilities!
 
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Looks great, Kyle.  I understand your concerns with the brewery, but one of the first things I'd do is arrange for them to deliver the spent mash to your property.  Feed it to animals, BFSL (also animals) and compost it.  They're paying to truck in all that foodstock and fertility.

 
Kyle Remington
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wayne fajkus wrote:I'm loving the idea. Paul Wheaton has a big/tall one that blocks the main road.

On the skidsteer worn areas, i just sprinkle seeds over the bare areas periodically. Seed mix would vary on the season. Its not a bad thing. I see it as similar to mob grazing wirh cows where they trample,  just minus the manure and urine. I have had no issues wirh seeds coming up due to "compaction". Often i will seed it after a rain so the seed sticks to the wet ground. If its dry,  I might mulch with a light covering of hay(i have plenty of used hay from sheep/cows). In the fall i can get bales of wheat or oat that has seeds in it. This wotks great cause i am mulching and seeding at the same time.

On the hugel,  i would try to use it in a random way. A heavy section of limestone, a section without limestone. You can vary plantings based on the densities. Things like Texas persimmons, wild blackberries, agarita berries like the limestone since they are native to you. A heavy planting of these in the limestone areas should thrive with little inputs from you. Paul advocates this random pattern of not only what goes in it, but the shape. Adding curves and bends. It ceates sections of wind protection. Maybe pockets that dont freeze. Different amounts of light hitting different areas. I would guess that he would then super blitz it with seeds with no thought to where they go. Nature will sort out the zones for you by determing what grows where. Think of a little kid building the hugel and seeding it. Its random. Things thrown everywhere.



Oh good! Paul Wheaton approves of the idea. I hadn't seen that, I'll see if I can find video of his hill.

Thanks for the assurance on seeding the skid steer marks. I was wondering if I could just seed away.

And now thanks to you, we're gonna do random spaghetti layering! Ha. I think I wanted to let our skid steer guy have fun with the process anyway, so that's just a win win. I love randomness, it's beauty. Curves and bends will definitely be in there. I'll be sure to post pictures when it's all said and done.  Thanks for your post!
 
Kyle Remington
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Loxley Clovis wrote:Kyle,
I'm reminded of a story about Sepp Holzer: he plants rare varieties of fruits that are used by local brewers, fruits that those brewers have a hard time sourcing nowadays. For schnapps, I think it was...?
I can't remember if I read it in one of his books or saw it on one of the YouTube videos about him.

Anyway, it may be interesting to coordinate some of your hügel plantings with the brew masters next door. Then the situation can be -as Bill Mollison puts it- a "win-win-win": the brew masters create specialty, local, terroir quality brews with specialty fruits grown in their backyard for their most discerning customers. You get your noise barrier, hügelkultur mound, & -if negotiated right- a fair, possibly even premium price for your product. I'm sure there are many other "wins" that will fractal out as well (eg. the mycelium will be happy).

Forgive me for not answering any of the questions in your OP. I just got excited about the possibilities!



Now THIS is interesting. Mark me intrigued. Would love to grow stuff for neighboring breweries (There's a lot of them!) I'll have to look into this Sepp gentleman.
 
Kyle Remington
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Timothy Markus wrote:Looks great, Kyle.  I understand your concerns with the brewery, but one of the first things I'd do is arrange for them to deliver the spent mash to your property.  Feed it to animals, BFSL (also animals) and compost it.  They're paying to truck in all that foodstock and fertility.



Thanks Timothy. I talked about the mash with them first time I talked to them, alas, it is going to a nearby farm/garden.  I'll be ready though when the other place doesn't want it anymore.
 
Mike Kenzie
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Kyle Remington wrote:Now THIS is interesting. Mark me intrigued... I'll have to look into this Sepp gentleman.


In that case, here are some additional links for ya...
Sepp Holzer's first farm (now run by his son I think): Krameterhof.at,
Paul Wheaton's fairly comprehensive compilation of content covering Sepp's work: RichSoil.com/Sepp-Holzer,
This wikipedia article gives a nice overview, though it needs some update & refinement work: Wikipedia.org/Holzer_Permaculture.
Holzer-_Sepp-_permaculturebc.com.jpg
[Thumbnail for Holzer-_Sepp-_permaculturebc.com.jpg]
Sepp Holzer
 
Kyle Remington
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Loxley Clovis wrote:

Kyle Remington wrote:Now THIS is interesting. Mark me intrigued... I'll have to look into this Sepp gentleman.


In that case, here are some additional links for ya...
Sepp Holzer's first farm (now run by his son I think): Krameterhof.at,
Paul Wheaton's fairly comprehensive compilation of content covering Sepp's work: RichSoil.com/Sepp-Holzer,
This wikipedia article gives a nice overview, though it needs some update & refinement work: Wikipedia.org/Holzer_Permaculture.



Wow, very helpful! Thank you. I'll check it out! Looks good!
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