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hugelkultur near foundation

 
Amber Cairns
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I have a question I'm hoping someone smarter can help me with.
I live in the suburbs of San Antonio Texas and I want to put in a mostly burred hugelkultur along the back of my house but I'm concerned about placing it so near the foundation. San Antonio tends to be pretty arid, which is why the hugelkultur would be ideal, but I'm concerned that changing the moisture content of the soil, on just the back side of the house could cause uneven settling. It is not piratical for us to do additional beds along the other sides of the house. Is there anyone out there who can advise me on this? Anyone who has buried a hugelkultur along their foundation and can share what happened?
 
Dave Turpin
Posts: 112
Location: Groton, CT
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In Texas? The problem in Texas is the building code allows for substandard foundation construction that requires foundation watering systems.

What is the build year of your home? Does it have an automatic foundation watering system? Has your foundation settled at all?

If it is a recent vintage with a automatic foundation watering system, that is in working order, you should be fine. If it is a new-ish vintage without automatic watering, or has previously settled, do NOT change the moisture of the soil near the foundation or it will quickly fail. If it is an OLD house you are probably fine.

In any case I would automatically be wary of doing anything near the foundation of a Texas home. Texas is sort of famous for shoddy foundation constructio.
 
Amber Cairns
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Dave,

Thanks, you bring up some good points, I've herd horror stories about foundation issues here. Our house is a 2000 build, no automatic foundation watering system but we do keep driper hoses along the foundation and try to monitor the soil throughout the dry times. I haven't herd or seen of any settling issues in the neighborhood but that doesn't mean that they aren't there. A risk of messing with the foundation of our home isn't worth one hugel bed so we will adjust our plans, thanks again.
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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Wow, I have never heard of automatic watering systems. I assume that this is to prevent foundation damage due to drying and shrinking of surrounding soils? If that is the case then I would assume that a wood filled garden could do more good than harm as far as keeping the soil moist.

My first thought, however, was to wonder if such a setup in Southern states would also encourage termites?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Josef Theisen wrote:Wow, I have never heard of automatic watering systems. I assume that this is to prevent foundation damage due to drying and shrinking of surrounding soils? If that is the case then I would assume that a wood filled garden could do more good than harm as far as keeping the soil moist.

My first thought, however, was to wonder if such a setup in Southern states would also encourage termites?


The problem is uneven movements.

If all 4 side of the house stays the same or even go up (wet) or down (dry) at the same time then there is less damage but is one side is always wet not moving and he rest is going up and down you have a bigger problem. So I say dont mess with the hugelkultur a few apples is not worth it. But you would plant some vines (grape, kiwi, passionfruit, etc) to use up some of that sun/space.

I myself have never heard of this automatic watering system or problems caused by soil expanding and contracting due to dryness.
 
Josef Theisen
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Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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S Bengi wrote:The problem is uneven movements.

If all 4 side of the house stays the same or even go up (wet) or down (dry) at the same time then there is less damage but is one side is always wet not moving and he rest is going up and down you have a bigger problem.

In 20+ years as a carpenter I have never heard such a claim. Could you please explain how you came to this conclusion?

S Bengi wrote:I myself have never heard of this automatic watering system or problems caused by soil expanding and contracting due to dryness.

Then why did you offer an explanation?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Googling and reasoning.
But I also mention that I have never heard of it before so that other can take it with a grain of salt.
I have never heard of autumn olive or other edible fruit n-fixers, but after googling I can now share such info.
I try to learn and share
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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S. Bengi, I admire your enthusiasm. I hope that you take care, though, when passing along things you have read online as there is so much mis-information out there and repeating it just adds to the dilemma.
 
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