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A possibility dumb question. Hugelkultur in a box?

 
Mark Chadwick
Posts: 81
Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
chicken forest garden urban
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I've seen many examples of wicking beds made using styrene broccoli boxes. Popular with renters where permanent infrastructure isn't appropriate.

So, is there potential for scaling down hugel bed practices?

Rather than logs, wood chips and sawdust.

Double depth through the removal of the bottom of the top box seems like the way to go. At about 26"*18"*20"high is it worth thinking about.
?
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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No personal experience with this but there has been discussion about this on permies before . Hope this helps :

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/18837#159282

Great question !
 
Mark Chadwick
Posts: 81
Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
chicken forest garden urban
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Thank you Wayne. I should've known I wouldn't be the first to ask.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Mark,

I am not getting a clear picture of your plan, but it reads as feasible. To answer the general question...yes. I know "hugelkultur" as "mound gardening" from my own cultural heritage. You can practice this in the garden or in containers both in my experience.

Remember when planting in a pot, for proper drainage placing stone in the bottom (the same way we stratify soils when practicing "Penjing 盆景") Double the size of the pot or container you think you need and build your "mound" or "hugle" in it. Experment with the resources around you and I am sure you will find a system that works well for you in this applicaiton. You may also read some about building Vivariums as many of the principles and structural concepts are similar in form and intent.

Regards,

j
 
Mark Chadwick
Posts: 81
Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
chicken forest garden urban
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Jay, you are becoming my go to guy, guru and learned friend. Always there with answers that lead me to learn even more.

I had the thought that rather than gravel in a wicking bed to support to soil above and out of the water I might employ rotted wood and sawdust as a carbonaceous reservoir to provide moisture to the plantings. Adding some inoculated biochar to the mixture would create a sound biological environment for growing through the Australian winter in my small greenhouse.

I hope to get a very early start on tomatoes that can come into the open air before the inevitable 44C/115F summer heat waves hit. (We had a week of those temperatures last summer).

geoff lawton suggests soil depth no greater than 12", my double depth box thoughts are that the lower container is the wood/water reservoir, with the upper (bottomless box) holding the growing soil that will wick moisture up into the root zone.

For clarity, the broccoli boxes are watertight until I create an overflow outlet.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Sounds like a working plan to me...and you got it...you are replacing the "rocks" that only provide a drainage layer with other items that can serve other purposes. Once I learned to build vivarium and other "living biomes" as a zoo keeper, I had a deep understanding of "mound gardening." Look forward to your success and photos...

Regards,

j
 
Blayne Sukut
Posts: 18
Location: South West Idaho
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Here is what I have done I usually grow tomatoes in pots to check their growth otherwise they go crazy if planted in the ground and I get way to many tomatoes that end up rotting etc... However they have to be watered every day in pots because they drain and dry out to fast... So I got the bright idea of hugelkultur in a pot... So I got some bigger pots put a little clay rich soil in the bottom so it would not drain to fast put in a big chunk of apple wood or more depending on the size of the pieces of wood leaving enough room to plant some starts put in the soil and starts added some straw mulch set a few river rocks on top to keep the straw in place and for heat sink and viola hugelkultur in a pot... Well the tomatoes loved it and went crazy like they were in the ground I only had to water once a week rather then every day. I had to stake them up more then usual to keep them from falling over etc. and they lasted longer into the fall (Im in Idaho) more then usual... I also did them with a few other things some of them I put a bunch of pruning branches in cut short enough all of them cut the watering way down and the plants loved it... Great for folks who don't have a lot of room or on an apartment balcony or just want to plant something for lower maintenance... I now do that for anything I put in a pot. Anyway there is my 3 cents...
 
Mark Chadwick
Posts: 81
Location: Cranbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
chicken forest garden urban
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Brilliant Blayne, your experience is worth far more than 3 cents.

Can I ask, what size pots you use and what material were they made of?
 
Blayne Sukut
Posts: 18
Location: South West Idaho
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Mark Chadwick wrote:Brilliant Blayne, your experience is worth far more than 3 cents.

Can I ask, what size pots you use and what material were they made of?


I used 5 or 6 gallon (19 liters) plastic pots for the tomatoes since they have heavy root systems and are heavy feeders... I grew some chives in a half gallon pot the same way with basically a bunch of apricot prunings cut up small enough they loved it... It just depends on what you are growing and their root systems...
 
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