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Rion Mather
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Online I've started to see some really inventive ways that people are using vertical space to garden. I'm curious if there are some on here that have unique projects going.
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I am making hugelkultur with used pallets from work (2'x3.5'). I am choosing ones with open slats, and tying landscaping textile to the inside surface. I will then cut small holes through the material peeking through the slats that I will transplant into, probably alpine strawberry and cut and come again greens. I am hoping this will work for kale, chard, and spinach.

I am also thinking of making a hugelbeet fence out of pallets. They would be arranged in pairs in a letter A shape, with the tops fastened together, the feet two or three feet apart, a typical hugelbeet layering structure within but piled to within six inches of the tops of the pallets. Landscaping textile would be fastened to the inside surfaces to hold the dirt in, and a similar planting scheme as the pallet-sided hugelbeets would be used, as well as planting into the soil on top of the bed.

The only downside I know I will have to contend with is the tendency of hugelbeets with open sides to dry out, which I will deal with in the short term with both drip- and sub-irrigation in the short term, and with a dense perennial and self-seeding annual polyculture and the organic structure of the hugelbeet itself in the long-term.

-CK
 
Rion Mather
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I would love to see pictures of the progress on your hugelbeet fence project. I really enjoy seeing the work of people with such creative and inventive gardening ideas.
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Damn! Now it's got to be pretty, too?

-CK
 
Rion Mather
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Ha! No worries. There is no such thing as an ugly garden. Can't wait to see the fence.
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Well the hugelbeets will come first, I think. I don't know if I will be able to do the fence this season, or even if I can do it where I am living right now. But I think if applied to an alley cropping setup in a nascent food forest, it would greatly increase the frequency of the textured pieces, decreasing width of pasture alleys, while benefitting of the shelter of the maintained bed heights (in other words, the beds stay high, and act as proper fences, but growing cut-and-come-again greens (favouring brassicas, specifically kales), denying access to the tops to all but goats (I'd need to plant thorny things or electric fencing for them), and providing a serious depth of soil for plantings of berry canes, shrubs, and fruit and nut trees).
I think that I would need to plan swales on the uphill sides of the hugelbeet fences to combat the evaporation, which will become less of a problem with proper root systems and mature growth. I might opt for larger pallets, the 4'x6' ones, with closer-spaced slats, and do away entirely with the fabric. I would need to make the sides a little less steep and sow my pasturage mix into the sides with the other stuff to ensure that a root mat and system develops soonest, but I think it would make for an easier transition from an artificial structure to one based on root systems and soil structure.

-CK
 
Rion Mather
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I've been knocking around the fence concept off and on now since I read your post. I'm deeply interested in architecture and your plans are inspirational. A great concept for a unique structure based on a conventional design. There is so much empty space and opportunity for gardening. I've never really read a lot about a landscape design unless it dealt with microclimates so I guess that is something I need to add to my "to do" list.
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Well the thing is, if you have enough space to have two or three parallel hugelbeet fences and paddock alleys, and enough to also shape them into a wavy pattern, every south-facing concavity will be a suntrap. If proper planning is put to wave alignment, it would be easy to make frost gates (think breaks or even culverts in the fence that allow the cold air flowing off the uphill-facing convex back of each suntrap to continue directly on past your growing goodies) align to minimise the pooling of cold air, thus minimising frost damage.

-CK
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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Chris Kott wrote:Well the thing is, if you have enough space to have two or three parallel hugelbeet fences and paddock alleys, and enough to also shape them into a wavy pattern, every south-facing concavity will be a suntrap. If proper planning is put to wave alignment, it would be easy to make frost gates (think breaks or even culverts in the fence that allow the cold air flowing off the uphill-facing convex back of each suntrap to continue directly on past your growing goodies) align to minimise the pooling of cold air, thus minimising frost damage.

-CK


I like the idea of that, too...can you draw someway or have pic's with orientation to better understand how you plan to incorporate and maybe others can see it could work for them...?
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Ollie, I just got a new toy, the Samsung Note II. As soon as I figure out how to use the sketch feature and send it in a post, I will most surely do that.

But if I were to try to explain a dumbed-down (for the purpose of clarity only, I am sometimes imprecise or obscure) setup, it would be this: in a hypothetical ideal setup, picture a pasture that grades slightly to the south, with a little roll but on average describing something of a shallow valley at the southern foot of a range of hills. I would identify the keyline and set up the fences at a distance apart appropriate for the intended use.

In the setup that maximizes the suntrap setup and includes frost gates, I would arrange the fences to describe zig-zags sufficiently deep that they fulfill the suntrap function, and I would go as far as to landscape and terrace to achieve this and keep close to an idea of keyline. Consider an arrangement of the zig-zags in relation to each other such that the north-facing points point at the south-facing ones, so that the frost gates (south points) channel cold air onto the umbrellas of the north points, and onward downgrade, which, in this case, is south.

Keep in mind that this is out of my head, and I have not yet even experimented. But I will document it all. It is consistent with all I have researched about encouraging specific microclimates, though.

-CK
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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CK - Thanks, I would certainly like to see it, whenever you are able...
 
Will Scoggins
Posts: 62
Location: Northeast Arkansas
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How did your experiments turn out this past season?
 
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