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Using existing Maple stumps for hugelkulture beds?  RSS feed

Karl Rosengrant
Posts: 4
Location: Springfield, VT
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I'm not sure if this question has already been answered/discussed, but here it goes:

A friend and I are starting a permaculture/Buddhist community in central VT on a remote 13 acre parcel I purchased a couple years ago. The property had a well established maple forest. (Its still about 30% forested). I had most of these large trees harvested so I could pay off the debt associated with the land purchase.

I've been soaking up ideas about permaculture for a couple years now, and I just keep getting more and more excited and thrilled about it. I've always had more of a greasy (tinkerers) thumb, than a green thumb, but I am learning a lot.

What I plan to do, is use the existing maple and oak stumps to be the base of many hugelkulture beds. I plan to stack cut up tree tops around the base and then use my backhoe to dig around the area and cover these piles with soil. I then plan to cover these beds with a compost wood-chip mulch (such as was demonstrated in the "Back to Eden" film) and plant immediately with natives, traditional vegetables, herbs... lots of diverse growies. The mulch blanket cover will hopefully mitigate any pH imbalances, and over time enhance the soil fertility. It already seems to have very fertile soil because the forest was maybe 75 to 100 years old, and the land was likely never farmed because of the ledge in the area.

My question is: will this work? Am I making any type I errors with this design? Should I test the soil for pH first and add lyme before making the beds?
Has anyone put old sheet rock into the beds to mitigate low pH? Any other advice?

Thanks in advance for your help.

p.s. I've been installing and designing solar hot water systems for the past 7 years so if you have any questions regarding that, I may be able to help.
Cj Sloane
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Hello fellow Vermonter.

Just make sure those stumps aren't sprouting.

We have lots of ledge too. Your land was probably cleared 100+ years ago during the big sheep period. If you are on a slope put in lots of swales. Possibly combined with hugelkulture. I recommend checking out Ben Falk's permaculture farm -Morrisville I think. I went on a $10 tour I found out about through NOFA-VT.

Paul says that Sepp Holtzer never adds lime.

The biggest obstacle for me is there are soooooo many trees! We had some logging done 6 years ago and we're opening up some patches when we get firewood but still... This year I'll try girdling some trees. The non-productive/dense canopy trees. I'd keep oaks for the acorns. Maybe Hickorys. Get rid of Beech - too dense.

The 2nd biggest obstacle is getting rid of the Japanese Barberry & Honeysuckle. The cows & sheep have helped with that.
Politics is a circus designed to distract you from what is really going on. So is this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
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