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Hugelkultur in the Tropics?

 
Michael Wilson
Posts: 5
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Does anyone have any experience with hugelkulture in the tropics? I am looking for land in the Peruvian amazon and we don't have the kinds of problems with temperature and rainfall that exist in temperate climes (obviously). That said, I really like the concept and the long-term fertility of hugelbeds and I am just wondering if there are any unforeseen drawbacks to using this method in a humid tropical environment.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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Best thing in the world, I do it all the time. One of the big problems with tropics is that the soil is so alive, all your organic material goes away twice as fast. No down sides, lots of upsides that I have found.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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no, there's no downsides. some people in the tropics are experimenting with biochar as well as woody beds. hugelkulture is impractical, as the frequent rains wash the soil downward. buried wood and organic matter is awesome though, and it does break down very quickly, often in one season in very active soils.
 
Michael Wilson
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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful. I too am interested in bio-char application as well. I find the unique conditions that exist in the humid tropics to be both challenging and exciting but it seems a large majority of the information I encounter is focused on more temperate environments. Having said this, I am encouraged to find many who appear to have years of experience in permaculture application in the tropics and I am hoping to reach out to them for guidance and mentoring as we move forward. With that said, I was wondering if Fred Morgan would mind if I pm some questions from time to time as we move forward here in Peru? Pleas let me know Fred if you would be open to this. Thanks again to all for your supportive comments.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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I would be tempted to actually do biochar trunk beds.

Saturate em with compost tea, and it should hold it in the root zone a LOT longer than being washed out and thru.

Have you looked at the amazonian soils ?

http://www.biochar-international.org/node/654

http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

 
Clara Florence
Posts: 47
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We do hugelkultur in the subtropics with felled banana trees. It's not true wood, just fibrous vegetation in log form but it works beautifully. The logs are already saturated with water and they release it as they break down which usually takes only a few months, on top of the logs we place dried banana leaf mulch then top with composted chicken manure and some soil. I plant seedlings directly into that and so far, nothing has died. In fact everything thrives. We've also used it for bulbs that need free draining soil which we cannot put directly into the ground because the property periodically floods. They are also thriving. This block is lowland coastal flood plain, the ground level is low and boggy often. The ground water is only a few feet below the surface so water isn't free draining. Using this method allows us to grow things that typically wouldn't survive the heavy rains.
 
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