• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Hugels as rainbarrels

 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am building hugelbeds next to my barn, which has gutters currently piped to the pond. I want to add diverters so I can pull the water from one side to precharge the hugels now and amplify the small rain collection during the dry season. BUT....The barn is BIG and currently dumps 3600 sq ft of roof through three pipes that would feed the hugels. That is going to be a raging lot of water in anything more than a sprinkle. How do I control or limit that flow but still catch all the light rain?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8852
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
112
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wonder if you can dig a swale next to the hugel to fill with water from the pipes. Maybe dig an overflow trench from the swale to the pond, for excess water to continue on downhill into the pond.....

 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am building the hugels on contour, so I guess they are hugel-swales. I intend to add additional swales beyond the hugels to catch more water for orchards, but that is not happening this spring.

I can rig the pipes so I can switch them from feeding the hugels to feeding the pond easy enough MANUALLY, but I need a way to automatically "fill" the hugels then let the rest go straight to the pond before I wash out the hugels. There is only 20 feet between the building and the first hugel, so it won't collect anything from uphill drainage, hence the desire to charge it from the barn. But the flow from the whole barn will fill a twelve inch pipe in a moderate rain so I don't want to create a mudslide.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8852
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
112
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you post a diagram or photo of the barn, hugels, and pond?

 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lets see if this works (this is the second try). I am a little technically challenged. If I get a chance I will draw something up.

For reference scale, the first bed is about 20 feet from the barn and the two beds are about 15 feet apart on the close end and a little closer on the far end. The pond is another 200 feet off to the right, but the slope is fairly consistent.

You can see 2 of the 3 downspouts on the barn. I think I will run one pipe to the start of each bed and leave the middle pipe alone.
hugels.jpg
[Thumbnail for hugels.jpg]
Hugels started
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8852
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
112
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I was thinking of putting a swale around the entire hugel (or could just be on uphill side, maybe), with an overflow route to the next one downhill, and an overflow leading to the pond, so when it rains, the swale around the hugel fills with water, then overflows to the next hugel, which then overflows down to the pond.

Here's my attempt at a drawing:



Just an idea.

 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Remember that the key to passifying water is to spread it out over a level surface. Building a level spillway as the easiest path for excess water to take will prevent it from eroding or gouging out the ground. Put one anywhere that the water will collect and overflow.
 
Josef Theisen
Posts: 236
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you're not familiar with the level spillway concept, geoff lawton has some great videos out that explain it very well. Awesome setup by the way. I have a feeling that it is going to be very productive once it's ready and you have the quirks worked out.

Do you have a source of soil to cover the mounds? Also wanted to advise being ready to seed the mounds as soon as construction is finished so you can beat the weeds to it.
 
joyce bowden
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great idea! With hugels, do you know what kind of mycelium is it that breaks the wood up into soil quickly?
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Take a look at what I've done here: http://www.permies.com/t/24277/hugelkultur/Large-Scale-Hugel-Beds

It's exactly what your talking about on a slightly smaller scale.

You could easily put in swale like features on the uphill side of the bed, carry the water back and fourth across the beds and eventually take it down to the pond. In the process you will charge up the landscape and eventually start feeding the pond through the ground. You can use rocks on your overflows to help curb erosion, and I also added small sediment traps/holding ponds on the ends to hold a bit more water. The swales should be sized appropriate to the runoff you get. So make them large (2-3ft deep).

Where is your dirt coming from? Are you on contour or just building straight? Do you need curves in there for cold management and to cut down on wind?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The dirt is coming from projects elsewhere on the property--other buried hugels, basement and greenhouse digs, ponds, etc. It is shocking how much dirt a hugel will swallow up. My little tractor is slow going (but much faster than my wheelbarrow).
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Agreed, I used 4-5 cubic yards per 7ft (width of my backhoe bucket) of hugel. You could dig a small pit and push the logs into that, then when you dig the swale, that dirt can go on top. A lot less transport. Otherwise you may want to consider getting a dump truck out to transport the dirt to your beds.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
where those are had no soil worth pulling out. It has been too wet to mess with a truck, plus other spring chores. I have enough dirt on one of them to plant N cover crops this summer, will deal with it more during the dry season.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would dig hugelpits instead, and use the dirt out of them to re-bury, and build small swales with.

hugels dry out much quicker than woodpits.....
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic