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hugelkultur forming sun traps on a north slope.

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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Hello,

I have a moderate north slope. I am putting in hugelkultures to trap water, slow erosion, and get some south and north slopes. (In Colorado, I can use both. Days are too hot for lettuce, nights are too cold for melons, sweet potatoes, peppers, and really good tomatoes.)

So, I was wondering if I could form the hugelkultures into sun and anti-sun traps to increase these effects.

The only thing I am worried about is the sun traps forming frost traps instead. If this is a problem, could I overcome it by lining the sun traps with black rock, to hold heat, and building lines of them ten feet apart, so that it is only a problem with the first one?

Would a hedge at the top of the slope redirect enough air to solve the problem?

 
Matu Collins
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I'm experimenting with using rocks to create microclimates myself. So far, so good. If I were you I'd start with one and observe carefully. I've had the same thought about creating frost traps, so I'll be watching my hugels this winter and spring to see what happens. I think wind and humidity will play a big part in these questions.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Thanks for the reply. What I think I will do is build my hugelkultures "Flat" facing North and South, without side extensions to turn them into sun (or frost) traps. I will also leave gaps in otherwise long rows, to let out frost. I will add side extensions to one or two, and see how it goes. That way if it works, I can add extensions to all of them next year.

 
paul wheaton
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Your concern about suntraps on a north facing slope creating frost pockets is valid.

One thing you could do is to just punch a big hole in the middle of the sun trap. Of course, this reduces the quality of your sun gathering a lot.

The idea of the hedge uphill is a really good one. That should mitigate about 85% of the problem

Another idea is to add some slope inside the suntrap. So any cold air that finds itself there will drain out.

 
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