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Hugelkultur Question

 
Julia Franke
Posts: 66
Location: Berks County, PA
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Where do you get the dirt for the Huglekultur? Do you buy it? I wouldn't think so, but I am unsure.

thanks!
Julia
 
Alex Ames
Posts: 400
Location: Georgia
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One solution is to lay out the dimensions of the bed and first dig down and pile enough
dirt to the side, then you build up and put the soil on top.
 
Rory Rivers
Posts: 14
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Finding dirt is always the hardest part for me too. I don't get as much as I would like by removing the topsoil where the bed will be. If I dig too deep, it's just clay. I recently dug a foundation for a sunken greenhouse, and that produced enough for a good sized huglekultur.
 
Roxanne Sterling-Falkenstein
Posts: 105
Location: Cave Junction, Oregon
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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The dirt from under the wood pile, plus dirt from swales dug beside the pile. This is something useful; Are you familiar with "rain gardens"? The dirt from making a rain garden is a great way to get a lot of extra dirt. Also a small pool or pond could provide you with some dirt too. Triple bonus points!
http://askwildehilde.blogspot.com/2013/03/rain-gardens.html
some good stuff about rain gardens. Hope that helps.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I need some help constructing my hugelkultur bed. Where's Paul Wheaton when you need him?

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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The local land trust let me take a couple of truck loads of lovely leaf mould and another farmer has let me have an abundance of goat/chicken bedding. Another farmer has offered to bring me bedding and manure from meat rabbits. I consider the community I live in to be a part of my permaculture system, and I'm always scoping out opportunities for compostable material.
 
Heidi Hoff
Posts: 127
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We live on a slaty shale ridge, so soil cover is minimal to nonexistent. We are in the process of installing our first hugelkultur, which should be about 5' x 5' x 60' by the time we're done. We've decided to go ahead and buy some soil. A 5 x 8 trailer load cost $30, and it was quickly absorbed by the first layer of wood. When we went back to get a load of compost for our sheet mulching projects($40), we ordered a truckload of soil (around $250 for rich dark humusy stuff). I have a feeling it will be gone in no time with all the projects we have planned.

Of course, we are also sourcing downed trees, branches, rotting hay, manure, leaves and whatever else we can get our hands on from friends and neighbors, but soil does not come free hereabouts (unless it is subsoil, which isn't very helpful in promoting the decay of logs).

As my husband points out, these are one-time inputs which will keep on feeding us and our friends for years and years. And that truckload of soil costs about the same as a couple weeks of groceries.
 
Mike Wong
Posts: 36
Location: Southwest UK, Maritime Temperate climate, Zone 9, AHS Heat Zone 1
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Try putting as much organic matter on top of the wood as possible and then the soil. It's freely available and breaks down pretty quickly.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I am avoiding putting my own soil on top of my hugels because of the invasives we deal with. I am particularly hoping to create beds that are not full of bindweed...

This means that it will take a while for the various materials that I have used to truly become soil, but I trust that they will, in time.
 
bob day
Posts: 338
Location: Central Virginia USA
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i have a a place where i dug out a huge tree stump that is going to become a geodesic greenhouse that is filled with the cut small trees i cleared from the slope last year, so all that wood has to get removed to somewhere and some of it is fairly rotted --sounds like hugel time

i've figured out that all my wood chipping efforts were more or less unnecessary---but my ignorance may actually further the project-- i have about 1/2" of soil, then clay and rock generally, but ,,the wood chips and guinea coop cleanings may provide the nitrogen and soil -mixed with whatever soil and clay is available--i figure the first year may just be cover crops that can tolerate that crazy mix (any suggestions? maybe something that would feed the guineas next winter) and maybe by next year i'll actually be able to plant something i might eat

i actually had to import dandelions a few years back (carried a few seed heads and scattered them ) so there will probably be those seeds available, and i also have some red millet that i don't know what to do with (the guineas wouldn't eat it) maybe i could transplant some of the volunteer blackberries i have so many of into the bed---although that may just be creating problems

suggestions greatly appreciated


 
Roxanne Sterling-Falkenstein
Posts: 105
Location: Cave Junction, Oregon
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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If you grow a very tall and smothering crop as a cover over your native soil ..obtaining soil as I mentioned above ..you can crowd out the bind weed in a few years as the hugelkultur ages.. 3 years with a tall cover crop should kill off weeds and build up even more soil on the pile....OR you can cover the pile with tarps and cook the weed seeds out....OR... go get a bunch of manure and just use that.
 
And now I present magical permaculture hypno cards. The idea is to give them to people that think all your permaculture babble is crazy talk. And be amazed as they apologize for the past derision, and beg you for your permaculture wisdom. If only there were some sort of consumer based event coming where you could have an excuse to slip them a deck ... richsoil.com/cards
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