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Experimental Hugelkultur.

 
Sam Barber
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Would this work. The idea is that you could increase the growing area in your fenced in back yard. You would have a heavy duty privacy fence reinforced with boards or plywood. You would then pile up your wood core against the fence and then cover it with dirt.
What are your thoughts how could this be improved? What problems might arise if this was put into place?
hugelkultur against a fence.png
[Thumbnail for hugelkultur against a fence.png]
 
Miles Flansburg
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Or you could get the neighbors involved too and make it like this...

http://www.permies.com/t/25097/hugelkultur/Hugelkultur-feedback

I guess my concern would be with rotting the fence.
 
Will Scoggins
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I would think it would take a substantial amount of reinforcing. To pour a 6" slab of concrete you need to put stakes every 4' or so. To make a Hugel just 4' tall would need a full on retaining wall I would expect.
 
Sam Barber
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Yeah That is what I was thinking that also. I am wondering if there is a way to make it where the weight from the dirt would only push down and not against the wall?
 
Will Scoggins
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Not sure how to stop the lateral forces. Just for the sake of conversation (not a practical solution but could inspire further discussion) you could look at sheet piling.


Edit: Sheet piling is when you drive a sheet of metal into the ground, usually for excavation to prevent cave-ins
 
Will Scoggins
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Another option could be to do "sheet piling" with the logs of the hugelculture. Making all of the logs vertical and buried for 60% of their length, then do a row farther into the yard a little shorter until you were a few inches from the ground. Then cover these log "steps" with dirt. This way the cantilevered logs will help with the lateral forces of the dirt, and not add any to the lateral load themselves.
 
Sam Barber
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Yeah that is a great idea if the logs were vertical then it would help to support the fance that is a good Idea.
 
James Colbert
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If the logs are vertical they will also wick water up from the soil or even subsoil.
 
Sam Barber
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Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
 
Todd Munson
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Sam Barber wrote:Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?


I'd say that would always be a good thing unless you are building in a swamp.

Love this idea. The logs stacked vertically makes it feasible and I think durable enough. Might have to implement this. I just need more soil, since this doesn't involve significant excavation.
 
James Colbert
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Sam Barber wrote:Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?


In almost all cases it is a good thing.
 
Sam Barber
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Good to know I am gonna make the changes and see what paul has to say about
 
Will Scoggins
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I am interested to see what Paul thinks (on most topics). It would be my guess that doing a hugelkultur with vertical logs partially buried below grade, then covered with dirt could slightly outperform the standard hugel layout. I imagine it is not done this way usually is because of the extra time/labor/dirt needed.
 
Nick Kitchener
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I would be more concerned about the long term contact of the fence material with moisture as already mentioned.
 
Sam Barber
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here is the next design with the upright logs in it. I think as far as moisture control and rot control It would be good to go with a cedar board as the fencing reinforcement. This would be expensive but since this a hypothetical situation I can do whatever I want to a cheaper alternative would be putting some other type of plastic sheeting between the fence and the hugelkultur.
hugelkultur against a fence.png
[Thumbnail for hugelkultur against a fence.png]
 
Tim Burrows
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I am designing something similar. Here is a way to make the front vertical by using planks attached to the posts by carving the posts to the desired shape. (Imagine the beeswax as logs)
IMG_20140216_193356.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20140216_193356.jpg]
Back
IMG_20140216_193414.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20140216_193414.jpg]
Side
IMG_20140216_194250.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20140216_194250.jpg]
Front
 
William Bronson
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How about 3-4 pallets vertically stacked against the fence, maybe with cardboard boxes as the barrier next to the fence.
Fill the open ends with soil and wood.
Hammer some long stakes, wood or metal, in front of the stack to keep it up right.
Lots of potential gick, but not too much for me.
 
Seth Peterson
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So...
my neighbor does this without ever havin heard of huggel beds or sepp holzer. The one caveate is that he piles up against a concrete wall between our yards so no rot. This might not be possible In your situation, but I figured I'd post it, cause it works so well. Another benefit is he captures more rainfall by sloping his borders back onto his property. In fact this sloped huggel leads to his pond. BTW this is in an urban environment.
 
Sam Barber
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That is a good idea I thinkt hat concrete sheeting would be a great way to control rot depending on toxicity and stuff.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Will Scoggins wrote:I would think it would take a substantial amount of reinforcing. To pour a 6" slab of concrete you need to put stakes every 4' or so. To make a Hugel just 4' tall would need a full on retaining wall I would expect.


I completely agree with Will, with an emphasis on SUBSTANTIAL.

Even if you place vertical logs, they will only provide structural support for so long. Once they rot, all the pressure they would be taking would be on the fence.

Even if the vertical logs in the second drawing were cedar or some other rot resistant wood (which are not recommended woods for hugulkulture), they will eventually break down, or at least succumb to leaning toward the fence under the weight of the hugul, and the hugul's constant moisture infiltrating the subsoil they are planted in. You would be slightly better off by placing the logs on a diagonal angle leaning slightly away from the fence to decrease the force of the bed material on the fence, but again, as this rots you will have problems--since The bed is lop sided against the fence.

In my opinion a retaining wall is totally necessary.

This question could be posted on the 'buildings' part of the forums to see what the structural people would have to say, but in my opinion, a retaining wall would be totally necessary. You could not reinforce an already existing wooden fence enough.

Concrete sheeting would not keep out the constant bleed of moisture from a hugulkultur. Plastic would be better to protect the wood, but moisture might get between the fence and plastic.

I see the fence rotting, but also, more importantly -because the rot could probably be shielded somehow- the weight is the problem, and will be unless a retaining wall is built.

Interesting thread.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like those self supporting pallet towers, placed close to the fence. You take the longest, strongest untreated pallets you can find, and attach them at the top so it looks like an ill-conceived step ladder. The side facing the neighbor could be sheeted in old plywood or a pond liner if you wish to prevent weeds on that side. The triangular shape is very stable.The center can be filled with hugelkultur materials. It will rot out in a few years and you can carefully rake it toward your side for a controlled collapse. Now you have more scrap wood infill for a new tower that takes a few hours to bang together. No concrete, no rotten fence, no problem.

I can't find that thread where a giant triangular rack was built from pallets. I think it was in Toronto. There were some very impressive photos. If you know where it is, please add the link.

Here's one from Google Images. Search pallet towers. --- http://www.pinterest.com/pin/33425222208026863/
 
Peter Ellis
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Dale, I think you mean this one?

http://www.permies.com/t/25097/hugelkultur/Hugelkultur-feedback
 
Dale Hodgins
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Peter Ellis wrote:Dale, I think you mean this one?

http://www.permies.com/t/25097/hugelkultur/Hugelkultur-feedback

That's it. Thanks Peter. --- This one sits like a step ladder with slope to both surfaces. It could be built in an L-shape with the vertical side up against the fence and then sloped into Sam's yard, just like in his drawing. Nothing would touch the fence. An idea situation would see some fence removed and both neighbors sharing one built like in the other thread.
 
raoul dalmasso
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Seth Peterson wrote:So...
my neighbor does this without ever havin heard of huggel beds or Sepp Holzer. The one caveate is that he piles up against a concrete wall between our yards so no rot.


This is pretty much what I am doing (work in progress!). Hopefully next week the new walled-slope hugelkultur will be ready! In the picture: the wall, biomass (logs - twigs - branches) for the hugel, leaves for mulch.



I will post more pictures showing how is the work going on in my blog ortomontano.

Any advise would be welcome!
 
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