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Hugelkultur in Florida?

 
Lance Bozek
Posts: 12
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Hi Everyone,

I am visiting family this week who live in Northwest FL within 5 miles of coast. I have visited 3 different houses (Mom & 2 sisters) and all have very sandy soil of course. My mom already has raised beds that she has been growing in for several years so I am going to work with her on those, but I am curious if any one has experience with doing hugel beds in the southeast. Both sisters are just starting the process of growing something.

I thought about introducing it to my family because of the irrigation saving and wondered what experiences you have had. I live in Utah on a permaculture farm so my personal experiences are with a much more arid climate. I am wondering if this area of Florida gets enough regular rain that you would not ever have to irrigate the hugel bed (Obviously water would be needed during the initial planting until crops establish themselves)

Has anyone had any problems with too much water/humudity and then wound up with unhealthy fungal issues.

Thanks for any input.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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the only time of year that no irrigation at all is needed is the rainy season, which coincidentally corresponds with hurricane season (who'd have thought?).
actually, building 3 m high beds really isn't very practical in florida, since the sand will run off during the rainy season. that being said, i'm sure someone has built it and will argue...
what is a much better solution is to dig a hole, throw away the sand somehow, and put a bunch of organic matter in there, and plant into that. or consider sunken garden beds. it's soooooooo worth the time to experiment.
the rainy season veggies are the fall veggies/winter veggies. a surprising number of northern vegetables grow great during our winters, like onions, carrots, cabbage... i could go on...
so yes, try building a sunken bed or an in-ground, woody bed. and see how that works out!
 
Ichabod Shorthouse
Posts: 48
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Yes I have done it. I used the hugel bed stop water so it is also a berm. It is a low hugel because of the above mentioned reasons of sand and dry... I had good luck the first year but this year it is just sand...don't know why I'm gonna try planting something on it soon once again. It might have been eroded by the sun wind and dry
 
Lance Bozek
Posts: 12
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Thanks for the input.
Have either of you tried mulching on top of the soil/sand mixture to keep it from washing away? Kind of like the "Back to Eden" gardening method but on top of a hugel bed?

I am testing out this method myself in Utah this season to see how it works for limiting evaporation.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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yes, it works great here. prevents erosion, adds organic nutrients...growing without mulch in sand is next to impossible here.
 
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