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Hugelkultur question

 
amelia nicol
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I live above 7000 ft, and there are a lot of dead trees that i would love to use to build a hugelkulture around where i live, but they are pine--dead by beetle kill. i was wondering if this would still work, or what the downsides to using this type of wood would be. Thanks
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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No downsides to beetle killed trees, build away.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 458
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I am going to pitch to my local church board that we put in a Hugelkultur bed to supply fresh food to the local community.

I need to prepare for the expected objections and I think I can answer most of these like:
  • A garden's too expensive to put in and maintain.
  • Who's going to water and weed it?


  • Now, they have the space and I'm looking to put in a full sized circular bed sort of like what Sepp is doing in Siberia (I'm in Northern Canada).

    I have one issue I'm not too confident on, and that's with the deer that ravage any garden in the city that isn't fenced off.

    My only argument is that with an 8 ft high, 50 ft long mountain of exuberant abundance, the deer don't stand a chance because
  • There is just too much food.
  • The beds are too steep for them to eat everything.
  • I'll plant some diversionary deer candy nearby to distract them.


  • It's possible that they'll bring up the possibility of a skunk invasion in the mound. That I really have no answer for.

    Is there any other common objections that we know of that I should prepare an answer for?

    Experience and solutions are very much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
    Tyler Ludens
    pollinator
    Pie
    Posts: 8851
    Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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    Personally I think you're being too optimistic about the deer and that you'll need to fence the garden if you have many deer at all. We have loads of deer and they eat everything that isn't fenced.

     
    dj niels
    Posts: 177
    Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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    I agree with Tyler on the fencing. Deer will eat off everything before It can even get started. They don't wait for things to get big enough to be more than a nibble. And it's got to be a tight enough gate, that has a way to close automatically; just one day leaving the gate open can wipe out young trees and shrubs. (deer got into my yard just once and killed my young pear trees and apples). Unless there is lots of natural vegetation in areas away from the garden, the wild things will zoom right in on it.

    Most of the lilac bushes and wild roses and other shrubs in this town are completely deer-pruned outside the fences, up to out of a deer's reach. And they can reach pretty high up, raising up on their hind legs or on a fence etc. They haven't eaten my hollyhocks or daffodils, outside the fence, but think tulips and fruit trees are candy, in essence. Unless you plant things deer don't find palatable, nothing will survive long enough to be large enough to make a difference, in my opinion.

    I know Toby Hemenway, in the first edition of gaia's garden, talked about a deer-defeating hedge, but a few years ago I saw where he posted something on the net that he had found the deer just pushed past the stuff they didn't like to get to the good stuff. So I think one would have to at least start with a fence, and maybe grow stuff near the fence to eventually replace it.
     
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