• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

hugelkultur: How small can it be?

 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 478
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How small a bed is it worthwhile to hugel? Instead of having the more standard long rows next year (see 11 acres (almost) and a dream in Homesteading)) I am planning to have growing beds across the planting area and wide enough I can reach the whole bed from paths on either side and mixing the plantings in each bed. There is loads of raspberry cane, shrubs removed for a woodland path, dead trees etc to provide woody materials. I have about 6-8" of soil on top of dense clay. Am planning on digging out the soil where the paths are and putting down straw covered by the carpet for walking on. This will give me a bit of a raised bed but am wondering if it would be of use in that smaller area to dig it out 1st and but in a layer of branches as well as top mulching with straw to improve the organic content of the soil.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think if you have some wood products laying around, it never hurts to bury them into the soil, or to allow them to rot on top of the soil near your plants..sometimes even the on top of the soil a mossy rotting log may be even better, like the typical real untouched woodland. I find in the woods that the best plants seem to grow near a mossy fallen log..it protects, feeds and waters the plants.

so..say even if you have a flower pot, toss in a little bark or wood with your soil, and drop a small chunk of rotting wood on top..bingo..mini hugel bed.

It can't really hurt can it (other than maybe stealing some nitrogen but you can compensate with a nitrogen boost of some rotted manure)
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 478
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Basically what I thought but was hoping those more experienced would confirm. As for the stolen nitrogen, a rotation of legumes should replace any lost to decomposing the wood.
 
Kat deZwart
Posts: 103
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've started by making a small real hugelkulturbed that's little over 70 cm high, 80 wide at the base and about 1,20 m long. It works! So, the principles of hugelkultur kan be applied to any scale me thinks.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 478
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Kat, that is basically the size I was going to try out this fall. Good to know it works.
 
Eric Markov
Posts: 100
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

How about a 15 gallon tub for "small hugelculture".

I made a "hugelpot or hugeltub" this year and the eggplants in this tub, so far, are growing the best ever.

for pictures see:
See http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/2012/07/vertical-hugelkultur-eliminates-wilt.html
 
Shelly Randall
Posts: 73
Location: Central Valley California
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Eric, curious. How much to you water the hugel buckets? I saw your blog on the cucumbers too. How much do you water them?
 
Eric Markov
Posts: 100
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sheila,

Not really sure as I don't track it. The hugel cukes are right next to an apple tree that I'm sure gets most of the water. It's watered with a mini-bubbler 1 hour, 3x per week (probably 10 gallons each watering). For the tubs, they get about 0.5 gallons/day from a drip system, but then I go out with a hose on a shower setting about twice a week and soak them.

The wilting cukes are not next to a tree. I've been using the finger method to determine when to water, mostly I've had to make sure not to overwater in the heavy clay. Interestingly with the hugel cukes, overwatering hasn't seemed to be a problem, even when the soil is totally saturated. I believe the stump does suck away excess water right at the location where a lot of roots form.

 
Rion Mather
Posts: 644
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am loving this thread. I rent so I can't do any mass landscaping to my yard. Thanks for the fantastic ideas.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1250
Location: Maine (zone 5)
65
forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I first bought my homestead there was a lot of overgrown and sickly looking trees which were tangled up with tons of grape vines. It took a long time to clear it out which left me with a 15 foot high pile of woody stuff to deal with. I chipped some but not everything fit easily into my small chipper so I had a lot of kinked branches that just ended up in the compost pile. Even though all the wood wasn't completely broken down by gardening time, I added it to my raised beds so that It could continue breaking down in the soil. This was long before I made it to Permies and learned what H-Kulture was all about. I must say that having those pieces in the beds has made all the difference in the moisture levels of the soil. While I'm not sure it would be hugelkulture, it's something close and it's working. Those beds get water very rarely and seem to do just fine. I guess the lesson is: Adding woody stuff to your soil improves water retention no matter how big or how small. The more, the better, of course but there's no set limit (high or low) so far as I can tell. The more you add, the longer it lasts.
 
Rion Mather
Posts: 644
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Put in two mini hugel beds tonight. Will do more this week.
 
Eric Markov
Posts: 100
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rion,
Would love to see picture of what you are doing and how it turns out.

My "stumppot" eggplant continues to outgrow my "horizontally-laid branched hugelpot", quite fascinating.
 
Rion Mather
Posts: 644
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I tried a couple of your hugelpots with branches instead of a log. I have a strawberry plant that came back to life and I needed to upgrade it to a larger container. The roots are embedded in the branches. I transferred all over to a larger pot.
 
Rion Mather
Posts: 644
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a picture of three clones that I have been growing in Branchpots. I transferred the jalapeno from the garden to a branchpot and it did so well that I am trying two other different varieties in branchpots.



Great blog, Eric. Keep experimenting!
 
James Barr
Posts: 32
Location: Alberta Canada 3b I think....
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
you guys are referencing branch pots, are you just putting little branches in under the soil, rather than using larger chunks of wood?
 
Rion Mather
Posts: 644
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I try to use the larger branches.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic