Rob Lineberger wrote:I have done this myself. Three 4x8 foot beds. I dug down about three feet, and made the beds 2 feet tall. I used treated lumber for my beds, after careful research of the potential hazards. The decider for me was a chef-turned-professor of soils at University of Washington (Sally Brown) who asserts that copper uptake in plants is a minimal risk. To me, it's better than plastics (human growth hormone analog), galvanized metal (zinc is nasty IMO), regular wood (will rot quickly), or earrthbag (we get SERIOUS rain here).
I was going to suggest Ruth Stout and trellises as well. Trellises in particular. But you have that.
After I dug my holes I laid down chicken wire and stapled it to the raised bed sides. Then I filled it with a progression of large fresh logs, straw/compost/leaves/etc (aka a mulch layer), large decayed logs, mulch layer, medium hardwood logs, mulch layer, medium rotted, mulch layer, all the way up to sticks, then a foot of soil. Then I covered that in 4 inches of actual mulch. I also used some bagged topsoil and compost to mix in with the soil I dug up. I didn't really want to use bagged topsoil but I didn't have any other inputs available and I was under serious time pressure.
Here are some pics of that process:
About halfway filled:
Ready for soil now:
Then I built squirrel cages:
and here is the final result:
In five months I estimate it has settled about 12", so I need to add more soil. It has been a dream in terms of plant growth and moisture control, both flood and drought are mitigated. I got lots of slugs. I recommend that you have some form of squirrel deterrent. Also, I highly recommend you put cross braces every six feet or so. The heave and contraction of the soil really strains even these modest beds. They are teeming with insect/arthropod life (roly polys, slugs, earthworms, fire ants.) Mulch is a must for weed control. Hope it works out well for you!
kyle mende wrote:For the metals, I was going to go with corrugated corten roofing. So It'll form a nice rusty patina naturally.
Technically yes this isn't FULL hugelkulture since it's not an earthen bed with sod and ground cover, etc. I'm trying to merge the self-feeding principles of it with a neater modern raised bed. I don't plan on using sod either as I don't want grass growing in it. I was going to cover the twigs and wood chips with chicken manure/shavings that I have. That should be plenty of nitrogen for the wood to use for decomposition.
at only 3 feet wide I won't have difficulty reaching the back. As for trellis, the wire fence is right there, so that's my trellis!
I'm technically in unincorporated king county between renton and maple valley. I just put seattle as a general geographical idea for people who might have weather related commentary for this.
I'll read up on this Ruth Stout stuff.
kyle mende wrote:I'm definitely doing braces, can't have that thing falling over now. I wasn't planning on squirrel protection, as that would be a LOT of wiring. But also, I grow enough for myself, then can have some. I have rabbits, deer, squirrels, and tonight found a racoon eating in my grape vine. I can afford to give some back to nature. Besides, how else am I going to get the wildlife close enough for my arrows? LOL
Morfydd St. Clair wrote:
Oh, very nice. That's what I want for my garden!
I'm sad to hear the slugs do well there. My probably unrealistic dream is that because it's a limited amount of soil, I can use nematodes to kill the existing population and then copper rails on the sides to keep new ones out. We'll see.