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The HugulWick : a possible innovation in hugulkultur

 
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Hey Everyone!

My father has a great deal of hardwood logs (in various stages of decomposition) on his land and a pretty open area that was leveled with cheap fill. I have been somewhat aggressively suggesting hugulkultur beds instead of the ever-so-evil lawn he seemed to think should be there.

But I noticed the leveled fill was only about 2 to 3 feet above water table , and this gave me an idea. An exciting idea, and I want to share it with you.


I imagined digging trenches for the wood to or below the water table, and aranging the logs VERTICALLY so that the tops of the logs would be above ground, but still at least 6 inches below the top of the hugul beds. the trench is then filled in and the beds raised and planted. This, I am hoping, will provide the moisture benefits of hugulkultur AND a Wick feed system, pulling water from the ground up into the beds.

I haven't seen this written about anywhere, and I've been reading every book I can and every post on the forums, though this is my first thread.


much love and happy summer everyone.

 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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This is an interesting idea. I wonder how it would affect the soil food web, bacteria, archaea, protozoa, fungus etc.
 
Posts: 288
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I think this is a great idea, one better would be to surround a new bed with these vertical "wicking" posts to form the border, maybe a strip down the middle also.
 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I like this idea. Two parallels... I have an acquaintance who liked to break up tough soil by pounding alder stakes in the ground, knowing they'd rot. Vertical rotten logs happen all the time in floodplains when trees are partially buried and then die, or are flooded by beaver and then buried with silt, or where islands of upland plants occur in wetlands by growing on stumps of dead trees that are well aerated, but perpetually moist... like an organic hydroponics.
 
Posts: 93
Location: Seattle, WA
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Almost freaky weird, I wrote about this on Tues and then something happened and I didn't post it, and I come back today and here's this!

So I was asking a related question, why do most of the hugelkultur I see use the logs horizontally? Wouldn't they wick up stored moisture from below better if the logs were diagonal or vertical? Like the poster today, I have not been able to find much on this.

Anyone out there got anything real, besides theory?
 
pollinator
Posts: 91
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Thanks for the post and the idea. I wonder if the bed would be in danger of leaning irregularly during wood breakdown with a vertical configuration? Sounds like it is time to go dig some test holes. Thumbs up!
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I believe the downside is labor efficiency. Stacking vertically is more difficult, much more with a backhoe. You'd need to have wood roughly the same length, potentially necessitating more cuts. To get the depth requires more work. With horizontal, you just dig a hole heave it all in, and you're done.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well I and others have planted logs vertically for mushroom innoculation..so this is a similar idea.

I would be careful of what type of logs I buried vertically with tops above the ground in case some might sprout ?? Wouldn't for sure do it with willow unless you want willow to grow there. Please keep us posted on how this works out for you as I find it very interesting.
 
Bo Bryant
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Thanks everyone,

Brenda, I meant that the logs would rise above ground level, and then be covered with at least 6 inches of topsoil, so no part protrudes visibly from the bed, sprouting could still be an issue with some trees, but these logs aren't going to sprout, that's for sure.

Paul, you may be right about it being a bit more effort, but unless you've got some 250 year old oak logs, i think it's a manageable task with a shovel alone.



Anyway, I'm back in Montana and I have another sight that looks good for a Hugulwick, so I'll keep you all posted as the seasons change.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
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Hello Bo and all,

Just saw this thread after setting up a blogspot site discussing a similar topic on how vertical hugelkultur helps eliminate plant wilting.

Hope it is ok to post links here: http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/
http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/2012/07/vertical-hugelkultur-eliminates-wilt.html

I've been seeing a significant advantage to vertically placed logs compared to horizontally placed ones.

Logs probably will not wick up 6" though as desired. I've only observed wicking up to 2" reliably when I used "logs" to help water soil blocks:
http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/2012/07/simple-soil-block-watering.html


Thanks very much for this site, permies.com, and all the posters. I used it a source of inspiration this spring to set up my own hugelkultur beds and now have the first successful garden in my yard.



 
gardener
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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Hi Bo, it looks like it's been five years since you put this together. How did it go? Any updates?
 
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