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Finally my first hugel swale is built! (YouTube link)

 
Spencer Davis
Posts: 48
Location: New Castle, IN
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I just finished my first hugel/swale combo. It is about 80' long and 4' tall. As the video shows, I piled up wood then a layer of older horse manure then soil. There is a little bit at one end that has no wood, just manure and soil, then after that just soil. It will be neat to see how each section performs over time. I'm very excited to get it planted soon but would take any advice on locations for plants. The pic below shows what seeds I have currently but there will be more starts purchased I'm sure. Other than the seeds, I have 2 blueberries, 2 raspberries, seed potatoes, and onion sets to go in so far. Let the critiques begin lol!




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M Johnson
Posts: 116
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Cool seed selection, I am just finishing my sun scoop and am trying to figure out what to put in it. I like the selection you have, I may steel some ideas.
 
duane hennon
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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Hi Spence

are you planning an overflow for you swale?
i'm not an expert but i think that by extending the swale past the hugel on one side would allow excess to drain
rather than trying to go over the hugel

it looks like you will get a good bit of runoff from the house and driveway

 
Spencer Davis
Posts: 48
Location: New Castle, IN
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Yes I will have a spillway at the exit end. We have had some rain today but I knew it wasn't going to be enough to fill my (probably too large) swale. And also yes to the runoff. A LOT of water will drain from the top of the farm into the swale (woohoo!). I can't wait to plant!
 
Spencer Davis
Posts: 48
Location: New Castle, IN
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Here it is almost mid June and everything is doing well on the hugel. I have planted several things and had no disappointments yet. Also a side note, the whole thing was built and planted underneath a very old black walnut tree. Juglone myths debunked?

Here's another link to my YouTube video for a visual.

 
Spencer Davis
Posts: 48
Location: New Castle, IN
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Just went out to the garden for a few minutes to show what the hugel has done in its first year of life. Suggestions and comments welcome...

 
Aristotle Bridford
Posts: 19
Location: Piedmont Region of North Carolina
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Hello Spencer,

I have enjoyed watching your garden progress through your youtube videos.
I was wondering if you would please recommend a hugelkultur how to book for the beginner?
This forum probably has all of the information anyone would ever want to know about hugelkultur. However, there is nothing like a good book to get right to the main points.

Thank you,

 
Spencer Davis
Posts: 48
Location: New Castle, IN
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I'm happy to hear that you have enjoyed the videos and thank you for watching. I can't really endorse any specific books, as I have not read them myself. The process is quite simple though. As they say, "wood on dirt and dirt on wood." Other than that there are a couple things I would recommend to achieve the best results.
1) don't use fresh cut wood. It will take much longer to break down. This is ok if you are not looking for instant gratification.
2) make sure to put PLENTY of dirt over top of the wood. The rain will wash some of it down quickly depending on the slope you create.
3) as with any garden, have a plan for weed control. I intend to soon cover my hugel with cardboard and wood chips, aka Back to Eden style.
4) lastly, take careful consideration for how you plant. I have raspberries that have taken over most of the area where my strawberries are. I didn't research enough to know how much they would spread.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Spencer Davis wrote:
2) make sure to put PLENTY of dirt over top of the wood.


This is super important. I didn't put enough dirt on any of my hugel experiments. They dry out horribly if not thickly covered with dirt.
 
Aristotle Bridford
Posts: 19
Location: Piedmont Region of North Carolina
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Thanks for the friendly advice Spencer and Tyler.
I will definitely pile plenty of dirt on top of my wood, especially considering my water scarcity issue.
I will also be cognizant of the weed issue, maybe keep straw on hand. Maybe invest in a newspaper shredder.
Should I be concerned about termites and insects if my dug bed and swale are near my house and uphill? If so is there a safe distance to be away from the house? The grade toward the house is less than 10%. I have enough room to put a 5' wide bed plus a 5' wide swale 15' away from my home. I have storage buildings 25' uphill from the proposed swale/bed location to block excessive water from coming from further up the hill.

Best Wishes !!!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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