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half mock hugelkulture? thoughts please (:

 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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i have this idea i've been mulling over a bit and thought i ought to ask what y'all think of it.

i live on a large farm and have no shortage of waste hay, manure, logs, space. my only problem is all i have available to move them with is: a wheelbarrel that the tire is eternally flat and hole in it, buckets, old totes/buckets on a really crappy golf cart that needs alot of luck (and pushing) to get around the hills here, just plain old carrying it in my arms.

so unless someone would like to donate me a small tractor or something then i'm a tad limited. hahaha.
so anyhow, my idea is to use small trees that i have to trim anyways and will be easy to move along with junk bales to make a hugelkulture bed/beds.

the trees are only a couple inches thick up to maybe 8inches thick. i'm taking them down with a hatchet and saw and dragging them about a half mile so give me some credit and the trees i've been told are called "tree of paradise". they grow really fast but they stink and arent really very useful. plus the area i'm getting them from is getting overrun with them. when you cut them the wood has a nasty smell and the leaves smell as well (same smell).

i have goats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. the area i will be putting the one bed at least i've already got hay down, cardboard laid out, and beginning to dump guinea pig bedding on it. i have a freakin huge pile of rabbit manure/hay from under my colony cage/cages. that alone is a pile about 5ft tall and covers about 6x4ft of groundspace.
the goat barn is needing a clean (totally dreading it) and i have 2 old barns that were never cleaned out and are knee deep or better of several year old goat manure/hay. beautiful black soil. one barn is about 10x20ft and the other about 5x10ft.

so here is how i was thinking to put it all together...

layer one: ground {done}
layer two: hay {done}
layer three: guinea pig bedding {adding now}
layer four: combination of junk hay and small cut trees
layer five: rabbit manure/hay
layer six: composted goat manure soil

if i can then i would like to make two of these beds. one for veggies and one for grasses and things to cut fresh for the animals as well as to cut and dry for winter feeding. so things like alfalfa, timothy, clovers, etc. i'm open to ideas of good things to plant on this one. would like to keep it the high nutrition and less "weedy" though as i have 250 acres to cut "weedy" forage and hay from. hahaha.

on the veggie bed i'm thinking of putting some tomatoes across the top part, underplanted with parsely... a bit downward plant carrots, lettuce, nasturtium... a bit downward plant peppers and onions... a bit downward plant zucchini and crookneck summer squash... and an assortment of herbs along the bottom and interspersed among the rest.

open to any and all suggestions really (: thanks so much.
 
dj niels
Posts: 177
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Kadence, I don't know what climate you are in. Do you get enough rain to water these mounds? or will you need to use a sprinkler or soaker hose? That would impact what and how you plant. Also, from my reading, it seems to be very important to put plenty of soil over the wood so roots have room to spread. I know with my first attempt at a hugel mound, I didn't cover it deep enough and the wood keeps peeping out, and the bed dries up very quick.

What direction does your bed run? A south facing slope could be a very different microclimate than a north facing one, the same with east facing versus west facing.

As far as what to plant, most of the things I have read suggest doing a polyculture--just throw out a variety of seeds, or poke them into the soil at random, and see what grows. Last year I found a pasture-blend seed mixture (at my local farm supply store) for non-irrigated pastures that I intended to try, but didn't get a bed ready in time.
 
Alice Kaspar
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I have some acreage in southern Missouri, and this is EXACTLY what I'm thinking of doing, too. It was lightly logged, and the tops are still in the woods. I'm going to cut the tops up, stack as if for Hugul beds where I want to slow the run-off, add vegetation/hay/goat berries, then drop pigeon peas and apple seeds in the beds. Maybe other seeds, too.

I'm very new at learning about permaculture, but I figure my experiments in the forest won't hurt anything!
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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dj niels wrote:Kadence, I don't know what climate you are in. Do you get enough rain to water these mounds? or will you need to use a sprinkler or soaker hose? That would impact what and how you plant. Also, from my reading, it seems to be very important to put plenty of soil over the wood so roots have room to spread. I know with my first attempt at a hugel mound, I didn't cover it deep enough and the wood keeps peeping out, and the bed dries up very quick.

What direction does your bed run? A south facing slope could be a very different microclimate than a north facing one, the same with east facing versus west facing.

As far as what to plant, most of the things I have read suggest doing a polyculture--just throw out a variety of seeds, or poke them into the soil at random, and see what grows. Last year I found a pasture-blend seed mixture (at my local farm supply store) for non-irrigated pastures that I intended to try, but didn't get a bed ready in time.


i'm in ohio. zone 6A. average Yearly Rainfall is 38’ i think. where i want them is a tad bit windy but i'm going to try some moringa trees up there and working on some "natural lattices" for windblocks as well.

i think rain will be enough for at least the grasses bed unless we have a nasty dry-hot summer like this past one. though i dont mind carrying some water. and i know hay holds water pretty well.

there will be more then plenty of nice black compost/soil on top hahaha i could make a giant hugel size bed just from that that i have available. i will be able to add some around plants also if neccesary.

the beds would run... heads north and feet south. they will have full sun. its very hilly here but this area is relatively flat. very flat considering the rest of the spots i have to work with.

i'm thinking i will try your polyculture suggestion with the herbs between the veggie plants but i know i wont get any tomatoes or peppers unless i start/buy started plants. seasons too short.
perhaps i'll try a smaller bed of just lettuces and herbs polyculture style with the toss and cover.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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Alice Kaspar wrote:I have some acreage in southern Missouri, and this is EXACTLY what I'm thinking of doing, too. It was lightly logged, and the tops are still in the woods. I'm going to cut the tops up, stack as if for Hugul beds where I want to slow the run-off, add vegetation/hay/goat berries, then drop pigeon peas and apple seeds in the beds. Maybe other seeds, too.

I'm very new at learning about permaculture, but I figure my experiments in the forest won't hurt anything!


sounds good to me (: though i've not heard much on apple trees from seeds. i have a dozen seeds in small pots of my own though so always trying nonetheless haha.
 
Emily Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Missouri
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I think what you have planned will work. Here's what I learned the hard way with my first woody bed: Put a lot more dirt/compost on top. I only had about a foot of dirt to put on top of a 5 foot stack of wood. (18" of the stack is in a trench I dug.) So I topped it off with about 6" of mucky hay from the goat barn. The bed got really warm and moist for the first few months, but farther into summer it dried out because the hay worked like roof thatching! So I tore the top layer apart by hand and left it in clumps to let rain through. My second set of woody beds are made of about 2 feet of dirt on top of one foot of wood/wood chips. And very little straw/hay on top to prevent erosion until a cover crop is established. So I think they'll be ready to use a lot quicker.
529090_526855807337110_1366661833_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 529090_526855807337110_1366661833_n.jpg]
Mom helped me with the first part.
529254_526855460670478_1249539176_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 529254_526855460670478_1249539176_n.jpg]
I've added more compost since this photo.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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looks great! i hope mine look half as neat as those hahaha.
 
Alice Kaspar
Posts: 70
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Roof thatching is the "glee" layer that Paul talks about. It seals off the lower layers.

sepp holzer talks about flinging out apple seeds from the apples you eat.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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first, duct tape is great in repairing wheelborrow holes and also maybe some fix a flat for the tire if you can't afford repairs..

another thing that is useful is a tarp to lie things on and then you or you and someone else pull the tarp around with stuff on it to move larger amounts of stuff..

there were a lot of PIONEER type ways to move logs ..you might try to find out some of those..there are carriers you can make to carry them on your back..etc.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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Brenda Groth wrote:first, duct tape is great in repairing wheelborrow holes and also maybe some fix a flat for the tire if you can't afford repairs..

another thing that is useful is a tarp to lie things on and then you or you and someone else pull the tarp around with stuff on it to move larger amounts of stuff..

there were a lot of PIONEER type ways to move logs ..you might try to find out some of those..there are carriers you can make to carry them on your back..etc.


interesting i'd never heard of the duct tape for the tire fix. thanks.

hahahaha i've been pulling things on tarps forever. though here pulling much wood of any decent size on a tarp isnt going to get very far because the ground is uneven. works great for hauling cut forage or grass clippings though.

i havent seen many pioneer ways of moving logs that i might be able to impliment. though if anyone knows of by all means i'm open to suggestions (:

wish i had a darn pony and cart!
 
dj niels
Posts: 177
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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I don't know if this would work, but I just "saw" a funny picture in my head of finding an old wagon, (or a skateboard, or some kind of wheels) with one end of a log tied onto it, and a rope tied in a loop at the other end, so someone could drag the log. (or the "skids" Andy Lee talked about using to drag his chicken tractors around--that was more like curved pieces of wood that lifted one end slightly off the ground.)

One pioneer or ancient history kind of way to move things was with round sections of wood that acted like rollers, but might take a lot of them, under the log, and keep moving the ones in back forward as the log was moved (kind of like creating a path across the board in Chinese Checkers.)

I am lucky enough to have 2 sons that can help me move things or lift heavy loads, etc, but I know how frustrating it can be to have things you want to do and just can't physically do them on your own.
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
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@Emily

Those beds look good enough to eat. Great pictures! When you get stuff growing, I'd love to see more shots.

Nice work.
 
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