I had a thought the other day while looking at a large depression in my yard.
What if I do a reverse "hugelkultur"? Instead of mounding up, throw wood and organic stuff in the bottom of a depression/ wide hole, cover it with dirt?
It seems to me that the depression will help to capture even small rains and concentrate it in the bottom, also wind would be reduced.
It brings to mind a technique that I think Bill Mollison used in desert reclamation where he uses a tractor with a special attachment that makes row upon
row of dimples or small depressions in the soil for organic materials / rain to settle in, which allows grasses to take hold,starting the process of naturalization.
In my opinion, digging is harder work than mounding and better to just use the natural low points in the land for ponds, swales, damns, etc, and mound the outflow side and plant there. Digging out in order to fill with wood and other debris would only be appropriate where you have excellent drainage (wet feet will often equal dead plant for many species), and a flat landscape has difficulty capturing and holding energy, nutrients, and water, or creating niches for elements to thrive.
my hugel beds have all been DUG out first to make a hole..
I dug down about 2' or so, put in the wood and brush and wood chips etc..and then repiled the dirt on top..mine were never as large as Sepp Holtzers..good grief I'm just a short gal (5'2") I'd never reach the top to harvest..and anything that grew taller would have to hang down !!
do remember that they will settle so pile up some above the ground if you can..but even if you don't it still holds a lot more moisture and food for plants than bare ground.
Bloom where you are planted.
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7B/8A
I dug a hole for a pond a few years ago, but it doesn't hold water long enough to be a pond, so I started piling organic stuff in the bottom, burning wood scraps,etc. in there,
and now there is a nice layer of grass and organic material in the bottom. The bottom is always moist, even after weeks without rain.
One of the main points of hugelkultur is to store water in the rotten wood below the mound, my idea is pretty much exactly the same, except it is not only storing water that falls on the surface area of the mound, but also the water that is collected from the sloped sides.
A hugel with a rain concentrator basically.
This might not be useful for those in say, the Pacific North West, but here in Georgia we've had a run of years where we get tons of rain for a while, then weeks to months with little rain.
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5 Ways to Transform Your Garden into a Low Water Garden