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Hugelkultur in swales

 
Morgan Morris
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Someone else posted a similar question but didn't quite address what i'm wanting to find out.

Has anyone ever created swale berms out of hugelkultur beds? Obviously it would create a little more work for me up front, but i'm looking at the possibility of creating some pretty long rows of hugelkultur beds on contour with the hope that i would just never have to water the plants and trees. I live in zone 8a on the US east coast, and i currently have about 4 inches of somewhat dark sandy soil, then about sand underneath for as far as i can dig. perhaps i should be less worried about runoff and more worried about water going straight down through the sand, which is why i was looking at hugelkultur swales to do a doubly good job of retaining water. i'm already starting the process of adding legumes for nitrogen and organic material buildup, but i just got the property so everything is in its infancy. also, when planting trees on said hugelkultur berms, i assume it would be better to plant on the downhill side of the berm since there will physically be logs just under the soil in the actual berm. Am I safe in this assumption? Thanks for all the help!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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I recommend you have a look at Jack Spirko‘s woody contour beds video. He basically does a hugelkultur/swale hybrid.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yes, but only started this year.

To do it "right" you really need to double dig--dig down first to place the wood then dig the swale and place all that dirt on the wood. That is a fair bit more machine (or shovel and back) time.

I haven't figured out an easy efficient way to do it as a DIY or one-machine rental. I know how to do it with a whole crew, but that is a lot of money in one beg chunk and only makes sense on a LARGE project.

I really hope someone shares an easy answer, because I do believe they make better swales.
 
Morgan Morris
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Hey, thanks for the responses! I watched some of Jack Spirko's videos and they seem pretty helpful. I had planned on the "double dig", and I'm thinking that since my land is so sandy that it shouldn't be too big of a pain to make the HS happen. would you recommend throwing in some horse manure along with the dirt/sand when i cover up the hugel bed? seems like i have access to plenty of horse manure.
 
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