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new to hugelkulture and permaculture

 
Davis Austin
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I'm new to all of this. Please tell me what trees are good for starting a hugelkulture bed for vegetables, herbs and berries. I live in NE Arkansas and there are lots of "rotten" trees available. Hardwoods, conifers and the like if this area. Please someone help me!!!
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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Location: Buffalo, NY
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Hello Davis Austin,

I too am new to permaculture and hugelkulture, but have read that you want to avoid using conifer, pines, and other evergreen pine needle trees. There is a chemical compound that inhibits the growth of non-evergreen pine plants (Allelopathic). Plus the pine needles are acidic and change the soil pH.

Here are some links to follow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp_IObIkInQ
if your pressed for time jump to 0:48

http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

Best of luck
 
Davis Austin
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Thanks!! We have hardwoods and conifers growing in our area! I was just wondering which is best for veggies/herbs and berries! I would like to try and get this going as soon as I can!!!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Howdy Davis, welcome to Permies! There is tons of info here so take your time. You should be sure to read Pauls article ,which Brett posted above. I think Conifers are OK as Paul says in the article "Pine and fir will have some levels of tanins in them, but I'm guessing that most of that will be gone when the wood has been dead for a few years." So hugel away and be sure to post pictures and results so we can all learn together!

 
Davis Austin
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Thanks to all of you. Please keep the suggestions and tips coming!!!
 
janet jacobsen
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I live in north Louisiana and pine trees are the most available source of wood. I have placed newly fallen pine tree at the bottom and well rotted pine on the top. My hugelkultures seem to do well. I avoid cedar and cypress (also readily available) so I can't say how it they do. I have heard different opinions on whether or pine straw (needles) acidify the soil or not, I use it on my acid loving blueberries but I use wood chips or other mulch on plants that prefer a more neutral soil.
 
Paul Gutches
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Location: Taos, New Mexico
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Davis Austin wrote:I'm new to all of this. Please tell me what trees are good for starting a hugelkulture bed for vegetables, herbs and berries. I live in NE Arkansas and there are lots of "rotten" trees available. Hardwoods, conifers and the like if this area. Please someone help me!!!


I agree with the mantra "pine is fine"

and I'm just about convinced it may be preferred where building soil is concerned.

True, it is a soft wood, and you want hugelbeds to last a long time, but
I stumbled upon this guy's real world experiences recycling Christmas trees and
came away very impressed.
http://tomclothier.hort.net/page24.html

And from Paul Wheaton, here's a guy growing riparian species on top of a pile of spruce slash in an otherwise dry area:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWaEEdB6GZM

Who knows what it is... the sugar content? Rapid break down? Calcium in the bark? Moisture held up in all those needles? Vitamin C content?

Between those two I have zero reservations about pine. I even think the jury is out on allelopathy for me. So far, everything I've planted from seed under my pinon pines has germinated and grown well, and there's a pile of duff down there that I copped here and there from the nearby woodlands.
The plants includes...
alyssum, coriander, runner beans, and fava beans. And I want to try many more things under the pines. Pinon is not so dense a tree that it crowds out all of the light.

That first link also debunks the soil acidification theory for pine needles, which I also agree with.

Pine needles, in and of themselves, are slightly acidic. That is... about 6.5 according to the article, though I once tested some chopped ponderosa pine straw at 6.3.
Very close to his claim though.

The main thing to remember is that all organic materials biodegrade down to a near neutral pH, no matter how acidic or alkaline they begin at.
It is primarily the mineral content of a soil that determines the pH level.

Hope this helps.

 
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