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Hugel Materials Comparison

Posts: 45
Location: WI, USA (Zone 5) Continental ~33" avg. rainfall
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I am in the early stages of transforming several acres of windy hillside pasture into something more than a burdock and thistle patch and am intrigued by the Hugel concept for obvious reasons.

My problem is with sourcing the wood material. The few treelines I have are mostly overgrown buckthorn trees and other junk, but taking them out will only worsen the wind issues I already have and I don't think finding and hauling wood in will really be practical.

Any good suggestions?

Otherwise I am struggling with how to actually "build up" a bed to the 1-2m height to provide an adequate wind break and hugel bed. It seems that without large amounts of fill material, I would actually need to get material from between the raised portions and dig valleys in order to create any height differential at all and this seems like it is going in the wrong direction.

I know that they say that in the absence of wood you can use any organic material and I saw a picture on a thread showing a large round bale of hay/straw in the middle but wondered if anyone had any practical experience with this? It seems that this material would break down very quickly and the beds would lose a huge amount of their height in a rather short period of time? I have access to hay/straw/weed bales or large bales of corn stalk fodder, but my experience is that all of these will break down to almost nothing.

Probably overthinking things, but it is hard to imagine a perrenial food forest that needs to have extensive rebuilding every 2 years

Thanks for any input.

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