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Modified Hugelkultur Bed  RSS feed

 
Tom Pavlo
Posts: 25
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Hi,

I live in a suburb and I have some limitations on what I can do. I don't think that the six feet tall hugel bed would go over too well with my HOA, so here is what I am thinking:

Digging down about a foot or two (that is the most I can do because we have a gas easement on the property) and then frame out the top of the hole with at least an eighteen inch border. I am going to do four of these, probably 4"x8", bordered with cedar. So basically, there will be 18 inches above ground that will look like a typical raised garden bed. The entire void will be about three feet deep, from the bottom of the hole to the top of the 18 inch border.

That I will fill with logs, wood, hay, etc (maybe some shredded newspapers), and then dirt and compost mixed into the top. Into that, I will plant my vegetables, probably in May sometime.

The way that I see it, I will get some hugel benefits with the wood, but I just won't be able to maximize it because of my HOA restrictions.

Does anybody have any thoughts or recommendations on this? Thanks!
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i have heard of doing this before, its pretty common hugelkultur practice from what i understand, especially in dryer climates where every drop of water needs held in or the owner is concerned about the looks of a pile of dirt, as seems to be the case for you here.
i see no reason why it would not work just as well as a normal hugelkultur bed either and were i not so lazy i would post up some links for you
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i did smaller beds like that..dug away the soil, filled it up with the wood and then put the soil on top..worked well here..

if your HOA doesn't want the raised beds, you can dig down like that put in the wood and then soil and compost and stuff on top but give them a kinda circular or curving shape and put your food forests on top of them, a dwarf fruit tree or two on each bed with maybe a nitrogen fixing shrub or lupines, some other fruit or berry producers and then your vegetables mixed in with some beautiful insectory flowers..they won't realize they aren't just beautiful flower beds..and you'll be getting food too..just make sure if you only are putting in a few fruit trees you pick self pollinating ones.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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also i think keyhole bed inspired hugelkultur would be a valuable addition to your suburban yard and might add significant property value...
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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that's what i did, right down to the cedar frame (i recycled some old cedar fencing) ,
i think this might be the 4th identical thread on this topic,
pretty sure i have done the 'that's what i did' post a couple time now!

see photos on our garden page in my signature'

one suggestion, use as much rotting/rotted wood etc that you can find. solid logs/firewood arent going to break down for years from now. woodchips would break down faster i think,if yo can get them free in your area from landscapers then go for it. grass and leaves would be great too..manure as well.i put a truckload into ours.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 796
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Hey all,

I, too, am putting in some hugelkultur in my yard. The useable part of the yard is 19'x35', but I get no direct sunlight until 10:00am on average in the summer due to some mature conifers in my neighbour's backyard. In addition, we have single car garages and fences blocking lots of evening light. My solution is to dig down 3' and fill with green and rotting whole logs (I have some rotten and we're taking out a couple of Manitoba Maples growing where they shouldn't, and raising the crown of the elm in our yard, mostly dead limbs) as well as last year's compost pile and all the topsoil from the hole. I will probably put in as many elements of a food forest as I can fit in. Anybody know where I can find a list of shade-loving fruit trees, shrubs, canes?

Oh, and as to the modified part: I am using pallets made of untreated wood (I work in a print shop and bindery) as well, and I intend to leave a channel straight to the centre of each bed, complete with tight-fitting door, specifically for the disposal of kitchen waste. I will have a portion of the green lumber chipped for mulch, and it will also come in handy to throw in after each kitchen scrap contribution. I think that, if the beds can either be insulated or mulched before winter so as to better trap heat, they could at least continue functioning as bio-reactors during winter months. Any thoughts?

-CK
 
Tom Pavlo
Posts: 25
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Most of the trees on my property are oaks. There are plenty of downed branches and twigs laying around. There are also a few trees that fell years back and are nice and rotting, so I plan on using that stuff as a base.

Does anybody have an opinion on using untreated but kiln dried lumber in the beds? My neighborhood is still under construction, so I can pick up scraps of 2x4s very easily. I don't really see an issue with thowing those into the beds, but I don't know if I am missing anything.
 
Tom Pavlo
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btw, thanks for everybody's thoughts on this. I love the idea of the keyhole beds!
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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Tom, i dont see a problem with 2x4's so long as they are untreated lumber
i am using 2x4, 2x6, 2x8 and scraps from all of the above in my hugelkultur beds
 
Jason Long
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
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Un-treated lumber shouldn't be an issue.

However, I would probably want to reuse it for a construction project.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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I am down here in the desert, and just dug a bed.

Filled with old wood, filled pore spaces with rocks, and packed in some of the paper/cellulose insulation in voids.

Mixing a Hugel, and a Wicking bed. It's in clay, and looks like it will hold water great.

I did put some actual fertilizer on the wood, so it doesn't suck all the nitrogen out of the soil as it rots.
 
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