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HugelSpiral

 
Josh Pasholk
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Location: Southern California
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Hello Permies!

I built a hugel-herb spiral at my friends garden I am helping him with. I used what sticks I could find around and also some vegetation as well.

Here are some pics:

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HugelSprial 1
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HugelSprial 2
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HugelSprial 3
 
Caleb Skinns
Posts: 72
Location: Calgary Alberta, Canada
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Very interesting idea. Let us know how it goes. I'd be interested to see how it works on a larger scale also (say 4 feet high).
 
Josh Pasholk
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Cal Skins wrote:Very interesting idea. Let us know how it goes. I'd be interested to see how it works on a larger scale also (say 4 feet high).


I have built about four of them and this one I dug down the deepest.

I would love to see one 3 to 4 feet talk with a good foot or so dug out beneath, hopefully I'll be able to build one like that soon!

I'll post some pics of my other ones when I get a chance.

Thanks!

Josh
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
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Here's a picture of mine. I used some old grass hay bales as the base with a few branches in there for good measure. It's about six feet in diameter and three feet tall. I didn't think about digging down with it, but I think I'll try that with my next one.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
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Another try.
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Herb Spiral
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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This isn't quite hugelkultur. I believe that you need a much larger mass of wood to break down to enrich the soil and act as a sponge for water. I don't think that a few sticks isn't going to really do much.
 
B.E. Ward
Posts: 79
Location: Aside the Salish Sea
bee books forest garden
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Michael Vormwald wrote:This isn't quite hugelkultur. I believe that you need a much larger mass of wood to break down to enrich the soil and act as a sponge for water. I don't think that a few sticks isn't going to really do much.


Would it work to build a spiral around a stump that's been sitting out in the open and being rained on for a few years?
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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That's an interesting idea as both the decaying stump and the roots should afford some of the bulk wood mass needed to accomplish what we're after. I think I would just opt for a mound since the spiral using stone or bricks just wastes that potential growing area.

However, true hugelkulture uses a lot of wood covered with soil.

B.E. Ward wrote:
Michael Vormwald wrote:This isn't quite hugelkultur. I believe that you need a much larger mass of wood to break down to enrich the soil and act as a sponge for water. I don't think that a few sticks isn't going to really do much.


Would it work to build a spiral around a stump that's been sitting out in the open and being rained on for a few years?
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
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The stones and bricks may take away some of the growing area, but they contribute to a greater diversity of micro-climates on a relatively small footprint, as does the spiral shape. These are not intended to be "true hugelkulture", but an enhanced version of the classic permaculture Herb Spiral. My goal with this experiment is to gain many of the benefits of hugelkulture, while retaining all of the usefulness of the Herb Spiral. I've created mine with about 80% spoiled grass hay, and I fully expect that it will break down into a big pile of compost-ish soil within three years. The same thing happens in a hugel bed it just takes a lot longer. Concept is the same, just a different timeline.

If you look in the background of the picture I posted you'll see a more traditional hugelkulture along with my hoop house with raised hugel-type beds inside. Just experimenting and learning, trying to find out what works for me. I think if you're just sticking with the "original recipe" version of things you are never going to innovate, except by accident (still just as legit, just might take longer). I try to understand the concepts or ideas behind a technique and then start applying it to different situations. When you do that you get to invent new things and make-up new words......like HugelSpiral. The great part about this is it gets to be whatever you want it to be, and if it works that's even better.

Personally I would stay away from burying a stump in a herb spiral just because of uneven settling and possible exposure of the wood (thus defeating the moisture holding capability of the wood-it would act like a wick if exposed). I think that they are great buried in your hugelkulture bed however.
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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@Dave - My comments were directed at the original post. A few buried twigs just wouldn't seem to do much. I'm also doubtful that the stones/bricks create much diversity in micro climates and I think covering a stump may be an excellent mini-hugel...perhaps as good or better than many hugels due to the decaying root depths.
I do agree that modification of the std hugelkulture has innovation merit which is why I built a mini-hugel (documented here in a wood chip thread).
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
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My understanding is that the rocks etc are for thermal mass. The sunny side stays warmer, the shady side cooler, and the whole thing should be a lot more stable temperature wise. I suppose you you could achieve similar effect by stacking stones on your hugel ala sepp holzer. They also provide a pleasing structure for those who may not appreciate the organic nature of a big berm of dirt (like my mother-in-law). I think the microclimate benefits of this technique are pretty well documented. There's no way you would get dramatic differences because of the small footprint, but you should achieve subtle differences in temp and moisture creating an environment where different plants will thrive.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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