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Hugelkulture Do-Not's

 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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There is so much information about Hugelkulture that at some point you have to stop reading and watching and just put wood on dirt and dirt on wood.

That said, this is my last attempt to get some good information before I start. What would you say are any big "Do-Not's" for hugelkulture?

I intend to do the "full sized" beds, roughly 6' high or so. I have a lot of wood but the dirt might be harder to manage. I have a wide diversity of wood available on my property and will be trying to drag up previously fallen wood before cutting down anything 'green' to use. I believe that is my best bet not just for the sake of making use of what is already down, but because we have a lot of pine and black walnut as well, so perhaps some of the stuff in those woods will have already started to leave and not be as terrible.

Since autumn is getting in to swing here, I will likely cover the soil with straw, but am open for a winter cover crop if one is suggested that I can buy cheap in bulk.

The first bed I am looking to make will be about 75' long. After the experienced is gained from doing the first one, many more will come.

The bed will be on a contour around my loop driveway, placing the bed running mostly E to W, giving me a cool N side and a warm S side. The land slopes very slightly from the N down to where the bed will be.

I hope that is a good bit of info to go off of. Any thoughts are welcome.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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I suggest collards and mustard and turnips for a winter cover crop. Those (in addition to chicory) grow very well in our Southern winters, and you can be doing "cut-and-come-again" harvesting of them well into April. Two bucks of seed from the local feed store should be plenty to give you a nice crop of "greens".

If you want some chicory seed to add to the mix, send me a PM with your address. I've got a lot that went to seed that I'm giving away.
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 464
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Three "do nots" I am aware of are:
1. Do not grow trees on the hugelbed because the bed settles a lot over time and just isn't suitable for a tree growing system.
2. Do not construct a hugelbed with wood chips as it alters the decomposition and provides a mega hotel for pillbugs.
3. Do not leave any branches or wood sticking out of the pile as it will wick the bed dry.
 
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've noticed a few times that people mention not wanting pill bugs but I can't figure out why. What's wrong with pill bugs?

How did the bed building go?
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Three "do nots" I am aware of are:
1. Do not grow trees on the hugelbed because the bed settles a lot over time and just isn't suitable for a tree growing system.
2. Do not construct a hugelbed with wood chips as it alters the decomposition and provides a mega hotel for pillbugs.
3. Do not leave any branches or wood sticking out of the pile as it will wick the bed dry.


I've done 2 and 3 with no problems.

16 years ago, I made a garden from 2 dump truck loads of wood chips, half as much dirt and lots of chicken manure. None of the dire predictions came true. Three years later the whole mess was full of earthworms.

I currently have piles with many chunks sticking out. They provide shade for the dirt and they capture blowing leaves. They rot off eventually and I stack them at the base of the piles. These are slash piles that were made with an excavator and topped with soil and 1000 lb of coffee waste. Photos to follow.

This thread examines various good and bad woods for different situations. http://www.permies.com/t/12206/hugelkultur/Hugelkultur-Good-wood-Bad-wood
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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MY personal most successful hugelkulture crops so far have been all types of greens, esp leaf lettuces and cabbages, they grew amazingly well. I had melons ripen for the first time planting them on the hugel bed (michigan it is cold for melons). I haven't tried anything that has to be dug up, as the soil is rather thin over the wood. Had an invasion of white sweet clover !! Everywhere, must have been seed in the soil

My older beds have some fruit trees on them and they did great as did Jerusalem artichokes in mostly wood chips buried areas.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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