Forums Register Login
Hugelkultur in a wet spot in southeast louisiana
Hi everyone
I have a spot in my yard that floods in heavy rain
What are your thoughts on doing a hugelkultur bed in a spot like this?
(1 like)
Howdy Hannah, welcome to permies.
Can we get some more info?
How often does the flooding happen?
Is the land sloped? Is there a way to channel the water?
Is the water moving or does it stay around for days?
Welcome to Permies, Hannah!

I would suggest a bald cypress for the low spot, and try to build your hugelkultur in a place that has good drainage. As I have mentioned in other threads, hugelkultur in wet climates is for the nutrients, not the water retention.

How close are you to the ocean? Is there any possibility of saltwater intrusion? If so, mangrove would be a better choice than bald cypress.
The flooding happens a few times a year. It generally drains fast but stays wet for a couple days
The land doesn't slope at all lol were completely flat
We are around 20 minutes from the gulf but we have fresh water here
And honestly if you dug down 2 ft you'd get water
We tried to do a raised bed garden about 2 years ago but it flooded , so when I ran across this method of raised bed I thought it might be a good idea. Since I already had plans to build up the garden to an extreme
Hi Hanna,

I'm new here too but I'm way up on the west side of the Central Canadian Rockies! Unless you are on an old lake bottom (which you might be) no ground is completely flat, though it might seem so.

I wonder how closely you have observed the drainage pattern when the rain disappears? I suggest putting in some serious study time and consider whether it's going to work there. In observing where the water goes, it may be possible to aid it in draining faster. Some small trenches in that regard might be of great benefit to gardening in this location. If it just seems to puddle and just seeps down, then-as it dries-search and find the last places that are wet, map them out so that you can tell sequentially when they dry out, then dig in these places, connect them, and try to find a place for it to go.

You could line up logs side by side, as if it was a floor, and then go perpendicular with another raft of logs on top of it, and then build your hugul bed on the raised platform. The platform is likely to rot out and be part of the bed in short order in your sub tropical location with such water action though.

You could build your bed quite tall, so as to mitigate the possibility of your plant roots getting wet during these wet times. You could build the hugul on a foundation bed of large drainage rocks. The problem with the drainage rocks is that the bed will not hold the water that you do want without some kind of barrier like lots of cardboard between the rocks and the bottom of your bed.

Everything is possible if you really want it to happen. It really depends on whether you think the additional labor/effort is going to be worth the result of having your dream hugul in this location.

Might better serve as a prime location to dig a hole and have an aquaponic polyculture. That said, the idea of digging trenches down to the water may have merit. You could take the soil from the trenches to build larger raised fields as they did in an amazing Pre-Columbian culture around Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia which was re-created in the 1980's in a research project. I stumbled upon this a few weeks ago. Not sure how to find it but try a search if it interests you. In this style: trenches could hold fish, aquatic plants, the mounds could grow what you like. In this sense you would be thinking of it as a combination of a chinampa, a hugul bed, and a pond system.

Either way, sounds like an interesting project. Good luck with it!
Thank you for sharing knowledge
(1 like)
Hi.....I have been gardening in tropical Puerto Rico for over thirty years now. Every year we have rainy season with huge amounts of rain.The saving grace is that we also get mornings of bright sun to help dry things out. Many years ago, I read an article in Mother Earth News about folks wanting to get rid of tree stumps. It was recomended that you chop a small basin in the top of the stump, put in a handful of dirt, and plant a pumpkin. Apparently something from the pumpkin plant helps rot the stump rather quickly, and the rotting stump provides nutrition. Well, I did not have a lot of stumps, but I did have logs so I laid them close together, stuffed branches and leaves in the spaces between and a bit of dirt on top. Worked perfectly and so next season I used this method for various other plants. They did not need to be watered in dry season, and were kept out of the water during the wet. I would also like to add that the trunks of banana plants work very well for this especially in the dry, as they contain an enormous amount of water. This was also very good on my steep hillside where most plants grew in terraces. You just stake in the logs [using pieces of their branches for stakes] an in another two years add more logs to the edge and your terrace gradually gets bigget and the soil better. And.....we used composted humanureNow I am gardening on flat land and the bottom of the garden is low so we are using the logs from the radically pruned avocado. You can also stand the shorter logs on end for instant" stumps".....a great place to plant orchids!
I'm full of tinier men! And a tiny ad:
Got a New Homestead? Here is What You Need to Know to Before You Start a Homestead

This thread has been viewed 1716 times.

All times above are in ranch (not your local) time.
The current ranch time is
Dec 16, 2018 08:30:48.