• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

My first Hugelkultur, feedback please!

 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello fellow Permies!
This is my first attempt at a raised hugel bed. I decided to experiement with pallets as my mom had seen vertical garden displays useing them. I filled the core with as big of logs as i could find, and all size branches. Much of it was already partly rotted. I dug a pit and backfilled all organic matter before filling it and attaching additional planks of wood and planted inbetween the slots. It seems like so far so good minus the fact that they look like pallets still....what do you think?
IMG_20130526_135748.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130526_135748.jpg]
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1043
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very nice! The pallets make it very self contained.
Half raised bed, half hugel. Makes me want to try this as fencing.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Pie
Posts: 3549
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
128
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thats awesome Tim, keep us up to date on how everything grows through the year.

William, I was thinking the same thing about fencing/windbreak !
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Whoa! very cool idea. Kinda like a hugel tower garden. I look forward to seeing it pour plants out of the cracks.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 278
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like what I'm seeing here. One of the things that attracted me to hugel beds was that it changes year to year ( Rotting, settling, so forth). I'm not sure how this one would change and settle but I'd love see how it works for you.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2295
76
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Needs some vines planted on it which will take over and make it hard to find the pallet wood underneath. I would try scarlet runner beans, sweet potatoes, blackberries, kiwis, grapes, nasturtium, maybe some vining varieties of squash or tomato. I may have to steal this idea and see what I can get to take off and grow like a weed.
 
Clara Florence
Posts: 47
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like this idea. Could be awesome if you live in an area where rabbits are an issue. Also very space saving and a great idea if you are space limited or need to go up in order to access more light. Strawberries growing on this would be amazing.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i wanna see some updated photos of this one..cute little bugger
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am extremely pleased with all the positive comments so thank you all! Here is an updated picture of my first hugelkultur project. On some of the upper levels I added some shelves to help the soil from the settleing hugelbed from calling off the edges I think I will adapt this method on my next project as I can add multch and hand planting various plants would be much easier. So far almost all the plants I transplanted have survived, I will definately try one from seed if I make them much larger then this one. I might even try higher as I found even longer pallets....maybe 9 feet? My thinking was you could use the pallets as a ladder to climb up and get the tall veggies. What do you all think?
Thanks again,
This project is in Ontario Canada.
IMG_20130607_182811.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130607_182811.jpg]
June 7th 2013
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is another view from the back!
I foregot to mention I definately have been thinking of building a fence this way so I loved the comments. I was thinking if you did them all around your property that you would have a mega windbreak and hopefully microclimate.....plus mega privacy if you live in a suburban area like me.
IMG_20130607_182844.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130607_182844.jpg]
Back side June 7th 2013
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thought I would share an update. I have never watered this garden. I harvest from it and have built a 2nd and have begun planting. Hope you all like it!
IMG_20130628_155538.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130628_155538.jpg]
 
mike mclellan
Posts: 93
Location: Helena, MT zone 4
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim,
Brilliant use of space and materials, IMHO. The updated photos attest to the plants enjoying their environment. You have created quite a varied polyculture in such a small space. Congratulations on your ingenuity. Looking good! Cheers!
Mike McLellan
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Pie
Posts: 645
Location: south central VA 7B
72
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love this idea - vertical hugel. You've made my mind race this a.m.!
thank you.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I honestly like yours better than mine, although the wood does block some growing space, it would also hold in moisture..and being very vertical it would be easier to reach the top on yours than the top on mine, which is a real challenge for me to reach.

have you noticed any shrinkage from the top down?
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Brenda,
Thanks for the compliments! The first mound I built I ran out of soil so the top level is not filled with soil I plan to fill it eventually. At first I did not have any shelves to hold any soil in place and i was finding my plants doing a quicksand effect on the upper levels. I tried jamming some sides under the top levels and it worked pretty well. The 2nd mound I built has shelves on every level and have experieneced no settleing yet on that one.

Please vote for me in the Purple Pepper Awards! You must find Terra greenhouses on facebook and like them. Then click on the purple pepper awards, then finally "most exotic edible garden" I will win prizes if I get the most votes!
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
UPDATE
IMG_20130721_111743.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130721_111743.jpg]
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All my spinach died because i tried to bend them over...oh well lessen learned. Everything that is going to seed I have been throwing back over the mound.
IMG_20130721_111801.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130721_111801.jpg]
 
chris spaugh
Posts: 14
Location: Athens, Ga moving to Little River, SC soon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome, yea I said that. Great use of materials, will be using up some of my pallets to make a few of these. Thanks for sharing
!
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

VERY nice work. Well done!
 
Kris schulenburg
Posts: 112
Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, what a brilliant idea! I work with a guy in a wheel chair and this would be great for him. Will make him one over the winter. Thanks
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Pie
Posts: 6139
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The two ends will allow easier wheelchair access, since they are vertical. I could see tweaking the design to have a greater proportion of vertical side walls.

This looks like it would make an excellent wind break. Hedges take longer, and they don't grow strawberries.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1105
Location: northern northern california
61
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
this is very cool =)

i could see this being done with different shapes, put together, and additionally some benches, tables and sitting areas built into it.

maybe someone could make a pallet pergola =)
 
Jose Reymondez
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim, how much rainfall have you gotten over the summer? (curious since you haven't watered)

 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Jose
I am not sure what the annual rainfall is here but I live near Toronto Canada.

I ended up watering the mound a few times even though now I regret it.....
My mistake was putting too many water loving plants near the top and I could have used a little mulch. I thought I would let the vines cascade down the mound but since I didn't water it for a long time, I should have planted all vines on the base level and let them crawl over the mound. I let a morning glory do this and it has taken over the whole mound but all my plants under seem to be just fine. Also I should have preplanned my plant guilds as I just planted randomly and tried to spend as little as possible.

If anyone is to try this design here is how I would improve it next time. The angle of the boards tend to drip water from one level to the next which is good, however the sun drys the soil just under the boards creating a gap. Therefore gives a pathway for water flow. I would keep the 2x4 frame at the same angle but try to notch them so the panels are all vertical so it looks more like steps. I believe this would correct the problem.
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Updated photo. I let morning glory crawl over all the food but it is still there.
IMG_20130818_105201.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130818_105201.jpg]
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And the back, (very shady side)
IMG_20130804_101148.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130804_101148.jpg]
 
Brett Andrzejewski
gardener
Posts: 315
Location: Buffalo, NY
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow! That is a very cool idea. I really appreciate the time progression photos. I am starting to wonder how and where I can try your idea in my climate (high desert). Good work and keep it up.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Pie
Posts: 3549
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
128
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim, this is such good stuff, and what I think permies is all about. This shows so much innovation, you are trying something and observing, making adjustments for the future, and spreading the word to others. If there was an award for best project this year, you would have my vote. For now I can only give you an apple.
 
George Meljon
Posts: 278
Location: Southern Indiana zone 5b
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi just wondering how much wood you put in the dirt and how high the hugel wood goes? Can you talk about that process one more time?
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Happy to answer your question! Most of what I had read about hugelkultur you are suppose to use about 1 third wood for soil mound. However I have very hard clay and I could only dig down by hand so far and I didn't want to bring in extra soil so I used a tonne of wood and debris. It is probably about 50% stacked wood, 25% random sticks and organic matter and 25% soil from the ground. The pallets are from a near by camping store (I got permission).

Here is what it looks like in the morning when the blossoms are open.
IMG_20130831_122234.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130831_122234.jpg]
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay Permie People!! My next design is ready for feedback! Here are some rough drawings of my design. I decided to ditch the pallets this time around and use slabs of wood and solid hardwood posts to attach them. This way much more rain can enter the top and no risk of soil eroding. Can you tell what I am trying to draw?
IMG_20130902_185055.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130902_185055.jpg]
IMG_20130902_185116.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130902_185116.jpg]
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These two pics show how hugel mound on the inside with the boards on the sides making steps. Also several mounds working together and attaching the hoop house frame to the tops of the wooden posts. Therefore channeling all the rain into the top of the bed maybe leaving extra sand in the top to have the water penetrate as best it can......ok.... FEEDBACK PLEASE
IMG_20130902_185133.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130902_185133.jpg]
IMG_20130902_185154.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130902_185154.jpg]
 
George Meljon
Posts: 278
Location: Southern Indiana zone 5b
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm guessing you fill the dirt first then add the planks as it builds up?

I love that hoop house design by the way!
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yes build it one level at a time, preferably with a machine to do all the heavy lifting and post drilling.

I started a new forum thread in the greenhouse section. http://www.permies.com/t/27982/greenhouses/Hoop-House-Hugel-Towers

Thanks
 
Kate Day
Posts: 7
Location: Maine
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I absolutely love this! Will definitely have to have a go at this when we get to clearing our land!
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Garage conversion into comfortable living space with food. (Seal in the ends and roof and make door on the front that suits your needs)
IMG_20130926_134431.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130926_134431.jpg]
IMG_20130926_134453.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130926_134453.jpg]
IMG_20130926_134513.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130926_134513.jpg]
 
Glenn Underhill
Posts: 95
Location: NW Montana
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim you have some great ideas. Thanks for showing us and post any more ideas you come up with.
 
Tim Burrows
Posts: 98
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just another update.....not much growing at the moment!

Sitting in the top is my Purple Pepper Award - 2nd place - Most exotic edible garden category.
winter hugel.jpg
[Thumbnail for winter hugel.jpg]
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1268
Location: Central New Jersey
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looking at this again today and it occurred to me - I don't know how you fill the frame with dirt Once it is all together, it looks like it would be hard to load it up with dirt, and I'm not at all clear about what point in the construction process would be the right time to fill with dirt.

Put up the ends and one side, then start loading dirt from the open side and adding the planks as you go upward?

Tim, how did you do it?

And as many have said, great idea(s). I've got a collection of pallets, some of which are definitely destined for this sort of use, inspired by your work.

 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic