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Newbie, hugelkultur in a pool question

 
Janet Murdock
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Two summers ago we decided to fill our 40' pool in and use the space for a garden. The equipment to jackhammer the bottom of the pool had no problem getting into the backyard (narrow access). Getting a dump truck in to fill it is a different story. We need a smaller dump truck which means 30 loads not 10 - 15. Local construction sites charge for the dirt when using small trucks or wont sell it to us at all (free in their large trucks). We can not dump large loads in the front of the house or that would have been a good option. The original plan was to fill it with dirt and build two 40 foot mounds on top.

After 2 winters in a holding pattern (still trying to figure out the best way to get the dirt back there on the cheap) we learned that the water table comes up to about 4 feet from the top of the pool during our rainy Oregon winters. The pool is 11 feet deep at it's deepest. We have decided to fill the deep end with drainage rock and then top it off with dirt. After watching a video on straw bale gardening and how over time it raises the ground level I started thinking why don't we just do that and fill in the last few feet over time. This would be cheaper and get our garden going faster. And then I thought about the massive blue spruce we need to cut down. Could that go under the bales? Would it be worth using a spruce or would it be more problematic.

I read some articles that make it seem ok and then others that make me think it would be a huge mistake. I just want this thing filled in and my garden going.

Thanks
 
John Elliott
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Welcome to Permies, Janet!

You just haven't let the right people know that you are willing to take what they have to dump. Tree trimming services in your area? They would definitely like to have a place that doesn't charge a tipping fee. The spruce? It will decompose over time. Don't forget about scrap drywall. That's a good source of calcium for the soil. If you read over the hugelkultur threads here, you will find all sorts of stuff you can dump into a hugelkultur mound that people are trying to get rid of.

I take it that a full-size pickup truck can get to the hole in your back yard. If you let construction and landscaping people in your area know what you will take (i.e., logs, chips, sand, drywall, demolition from burned down houses) you should be able to fill up the hole pretty quick. There's only a few things to avoid, like treated lumber and concrete rubble, but there is more stuff headed for the landfill that is acceptable hugelkultur material than isn't.
 
Janet Murdock
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Thank you so much for the response. I hear so many horror stories about filling in pools in such a rainy place. My sister has me having nightmares about sink holes, lol. Everyone tells me I'm nuts to use anything but dirt because it will be constantly breaking down and caving in. Even the gentleman who took down some trees for us wouldn't chip them into the pool because he said it would give us problems down the road. Guess I need to do some more research and make a list of items I can take. You've been very helpful.
 
John Elliott
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Oh, it will subside -- but not like a Florida sinkhole, taking the house with it. It may drop a foot between spring planting and fall harvest, that wouldn't surprise me. But just keep adding more material and remember, you're building soil. As it compacts, it's turning biomass into soil.
 
Janet Murdock
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lol, good to know. I'll stop worrying about sink holes =)
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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